Sacred & Profane – Art, Beauty & stuff that doesn't suck

"Life has been your art. You have set yourself to music. Your days are your poetry" -Oscar Wilde

Stuff that isn’t Christmassy or crappy October 7, 2009

I am particularly excited for my New Release Tuesday post today. “Why?” you ask. “Is it because of the new Backstreet Boys CD or the Creed re-release?” Well, I can honestly so that it is not. It is however the first week of October which means the official beginning of the Christmas season for record labels and movie distributors, thus kicking off the nauseating three month frenzy of crap being dumped into the marketplace. Sweet!

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CD’s

The-RaveonettesThe Raveonettes – In and Out of Control

Emily Haines

Emily Haines

For those unfamiliar, The Raveonettes are a brilliant band from Denmark by way of Brooklyn consisting of Sune Rose Wagner and Sharin Foo who I am in love with. Sharin shares a special place in my heart with Metric’s Emily Haines. I indeed have a weakness for waify non-American blonde indie rock chicks who play guitar. Anyway…on to the music.
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The Raveonettes’ last album Lust Lust Lust was my absolute favorite of 2008 and I’ve since been patiently anticipating its follow-up. Their music is like pre-Beatles pop songs recorded by the Velvet Underground and then covered by a Psychocandy era Jesus and Mary Chain who sent the tracks back to the future through a time warp to be mixed by a pre-felony/incarceration era Phil Spector. Helpful? After three attentive listens I’m prepared to say that In and Out of Control isn’t quite on par with Lust Lust Lust, but I didn’t expect it to be. The same seamless harmonies and efficient songwriting, just much less adventurous sonically.
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Here is their incredibly catchy new single “Last Dance”

GoslingDead Man’s Bones – Dead Man’s Bones

Ryan Gosling

Ryan Gosling

Two things can be expected from actors who become bored with acting and decide they want to be rock stars: A) Their album will suck. B) No matter how bad it sucks some label will take a gamble and release it. For this reason I was terrified upon hearing Ryan Gosling, one of my very favorite actors and man crush objects, started a band with his neighborhood’s hipster children’s choir and they were releasing an album. Initially I feared that best case scenario it would be dismissed as an indulgent novelty and forgotten before doing any permanent damage. Well, sorry I doubted you Ryan.
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I am relieved to say that after listening, my respect for Gosling as an artist has only deepened. Dead Man’s Bones can’t easily be summed with comparisons so I’ll just recommend listening to it. The best I can do is say that it’s eclectic, charming in a creepy sort of way and best experienced with a fake life-sized doll.

hope sandovalHope Sandoval & the Warm Inventions – Through the Devil Softly

Best known as the former singer of mid 90’s shoegaze folk duo Mazzy Star whose song “Fade Into You” still finds its way onto soundtracks and TV shows. Hope could sing through a phone book and make it haunting and rich, (though I hope she never does because that would make for the worst album ever), and to me that’s why this album as a whole doesn’t grab me. Too much gets stripped down and cleared away to make room for her vocals and as a result sometimes the songs either run into one another or just don’t go anywhere. Through the Devil Softly was produced by former My Bloody Valentine guitarist Colm O’Coisoig who I wish would have brought some of his former band’s sonic adventure with him to this one. Click here for more good times (more…)

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Important Lessons Learned in Los Angeles…Part 2 April 10, 2009

 

In LA I learned…

…..that Mike Tomlin (Pittsburg Steelers coach) has never smiled in his life and anyone who makes eye contact with him will immediately die.

…..that sometimes even a 287 year old shockingly successful billionaire (Steelers owner Dan Rooney) can be mistaken for a frail senile hobo with a giant ketchup stain on his shirt who wandered into baggage claim.

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…..that a dear smiley Canadian college friend who just wanted to sing Amy Grant songs in church and supply various baked goods for church picnics is now more likely to be the one to spike the sherbet punch at the potluck…She’s more fun now  : )   *

…..that even though it is completely permissible to recline seats on a plane the person behind you will hate you forever and intentionally kick the back of the seat.

…..it is possible to watch an entire season (minus 1 episode) of a show (Californication) in 2 days…Self destruction can be made to look extremely appealing. Hank Moody Rules!

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…..some people go to coffee shops for coffee, other people go to get high, other people walk their dogs and then take breaks to sit in the joint passing circle while all of the dogs play with each other and also get high. **

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…..I still am flooded with eloquent insights at art galleries and bff Dave still has nothing worthwhile to say about anything unless he stole it from me. ***

 

* For the record I have nothing against Amy Grant, baked goods, Canada, church picnics or church potlucks.

** For the record bff Dave and I were amongst the coffee drinking patrons…Say “no” to drugs kids

*** take this as a joke except for what I said about my bountiful insights and bff Dave’s lack of thought (Dave and I show love through insults)

 

Important lessons learned in Los Angeles… Part 1 April 8, 2009

Bekah and I went on an extended vacation to LA recently to visit our friend Nikki and my bff Dave who is a corn farmer in Kansas.** I learned several (not so) very important life lessons accompanied by a few (not so) profound epiphanies. I hope these have a dramatic impact on all of your lives…

In LA I learned…

…..that the grass actually is greener on the other side. (obviously a metaphor because I don’t think I saw a single blade of grass while I was there)

…..that when talking with a sweet enthusiastic little goth fellow (Kynt) for an hour about Mac cosmetics, comic book movies and Hello Kitty fashion accessories, never assume he hasn’t been travelling the planet with his hot goth girlfriend (Vyxsin) as a semi-famous finalist on the Amazing Race. Wikipedia has just informed me that the “ubiquitous dating goths” have since been eliminated but had a great run.

kyntvyxsin…..that enthusiastic little goth fellows who look 12 will say they are 22 and from LA but are actually 31 and from Louisville, Kentucky. ***

…..never underestimate a cupcake

sprinkles…..that as much as I love modern indie dance music, all you really need to keep a party going is a room full of people who don’t suck, a tall bald pastor doing some sort of interpretive gorilla dance and a chick spinning James Brown and Aretha records. (and arguably a dude pouring half price beer)

…..that when you say “no onions please” it actually seems to mean “not only do I want onions but I demand them in excess.” Good to know.

…..that not every person there is a famous actor; some of them are also in gangs. However, bff Kansas corn farmer Dave and I think we saw Jay-Z like 12 times and Vern Troyer standing on a speaker taking pictures.

verne** Just so he doesn’t whine, I will clarify that bff Dave isn’t a corn farmer, he is the guitarist for Far Beyond Frail and “D” list celebrity in the renown Kansas City, Missouri hipster scene.

*** I should also clarify that I don’t walk around in LA or anywhere else looking for 31yo goth boys who look 12. I was waiting with my WIFE and Nikki in an embarrassingly long line of small girls, soccer moms and middle aged goth boys who were buying limited edition Twilight DVD’s…(I’m not proud of that either)

To be continued…

 

The Red Carpet’s classiest (and by ‘classiest’ I of course mean hottest) February 23, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — davidjdecker @ 3:48 pm

So Bekah (my lovely wife) and I play a fun game during the Oscar’s every year that we would like to share with you…Here are the intricate rules: 

  • Watch the red carpet pre-show
  • Monitor the hotness of those walking around
  • Narrow them down to 5 and then place in list form
  • Acknowledge the superficial yet unavoidable nature of participating in the game
  • Repeat the following year 

My list usually consists of the gals and Bekah’s the chaps…Feel free to do it though in whatever order works best. Have Fun!!! 

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David picks the hottest females

Best Actress Winner1.     Kate Winslet

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amy-adams_l12.     Amy Adams

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anne-hathaway-2009-oscars3.     Anne Hathaway

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Oscars Arrivals4.     Penelope Cruz

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Oscars Arrivals5.     Natalie Portman

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Bekah picks the hottest guys

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Robert Pattinson

1.     Rob Pattinson- Duh and Yum
By far the hottest. I’d give him all top 5 slots, but David won’t let me. There is no close 2nd. Not.Even.Close

 

2.     Hugh Jackman

He looked great and did an amazing job. 

Daniel Craig. Snore but cute here

Daniel Craig. Snore but cute here

 

 

 

 

 

 

3.     Daniel Craig
By this point I’m so bored. He does not impress me, but he did look dashing.

 

Dev Patel and the gorgeous Freida Pinto

Dev Patel and the gorgeous Freida Pinto

4.     Dev Patel
He looks so young and excited that I just had to put him on the list. I wouldn’t eat curry with him (ew) but I would give him a hug. And possibly a kiss. But probably not

 

 

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5.     Brad Pitt tied with Emile Hirsch
Again, on my real list, Rob has all 5 spots, so it was stretch to fill any of the other spots. This last one is a toss up between Brad and Emile.  

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It's a crime to be this hot

Brad becuase, well, he’s Brad and looked like this once:
and Emile b/c he looks cute in this picture.

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Hi, I'm Emile. I'm cute. Sometimes I get naked

 

Oscar Predictions February 22, 2009

the_wrestler_mickey_rourkeActor in a Leading Role

Who Will Win: Mickey RourkeThe Wrestler

Who Should Win: Mickey RourkeThe Wrestler

Both Sean Penn and Rourke have achieved something memorable with their performances and are both deserving. 3 of the last 4 Oscars awarded in this category were from biopics, which smiles on Penn’. He also won the SAG award, is highly respected by his voting peers as has been evident with his 4 previous nominations and 1 win…The “art imitating life” qualities are too powerfully paralleled in Rourke’s portrayal of a washed up, broken wrestler who is seeking redemption and forgiveness. Rourke has burned a lot of bridges in Hollywood that Director Darren Aranofsky has given him the opportunity to rebuild. Hopefully he is a more successful bridge builder than his on screen counterpart.

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the-dark-knight-heathActor in a Supporting Role

Who Will Win: Heath Ledger Dark Knight

Who Should Win: Heath LedgerDark Knight

I’m sure many will write this off as a “legacy” award considering Ledger’s tragic passing early last year but that isn’t the case here. Big budget blockbusters typically earn a lot of profit but few awards outside of the technical categories. This will be the exception and rightfully so. He created a very unique character in the Joker and stole the show. Ledger was one of our finest developing young actors and hopefully this award will be the source of some solace to his family and fans.

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the-reader-kate-winsletActress in a Leading Role

Who Will Win: Kate Winslet The Reader

Who Should Win: Kate WinsletThe Reader

This is as close to a lock as you’re likely to find. Kate in my estimation is the most admirable actress of her generation and with a 0-6 record at the Oscar’s is long overdue. She has cleaned up at every awards ceremony this year and I expect the same tonight.

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penelope-cruz-vicky-cristina-barcelonaActress in a Supporting Role

Who Will Win: Penélope Cruz – Vicki Cristina Barcelona

Who Should Win: Taraji P. Henson – The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

Don’t get me wrong, I love Penélope and she was excellent in a very challenging role when. My hesitation is that her role, though central to the story, didn’t call for enough screen time to justify her winning over the other well deserving nominees. Woody Allen’s actresses also do well at the Oscar’s and her 2006 loss for Volver is still fresh in the voters minds. Taraji P. Henson displayed an abnormally broad range of talent in her role as Brad Pitt’s surrogate mother in Benjamin Button. I think she is deserving but I don’t know if there has been enough buzz for her or the film. Amy Adams could also factor in here somewhere for her role as a naïve nun in Doubt.

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Best Director

Who Will Win: Danny BoyleSlumdog Millionaire

Who Should Win: Danny BoyleSlumdog Millionaire

Stephen Daldry will be a very close 2nd here for The Reader (if not a surprise winner) but Danny Boyle’s delicate and graceful work in Slumdog without the safety net of a recognizable or experienced cast, seems unstoppable.

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Cinematography

Will Win: Slumdog Millionaire

Should Win: Slumdog Millionaire

I could make a legitimate case for Benjamin Button or The Dark Knight, and then I’m reminded of the haunting, unforgettable visuals of Mumbai and the train scene in Slumdog Millionaire. The rich color that was used amidst the dreary slums was used to great effect as a symbol of hope. Beautiful.

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manonwireDocumentary Feature

Will Win: Man on Wire

Who Should Win: ???

I haven’t seen enough of these to be fair about who should win, but Man on Wire was as engaging a documentary as I have seen in years. It is a retelling of the realization of French performance artist Phillipe Petit’s dream of walking across the World Trade Center on a tight rope. The doc benefitted from a wealth of original video from the 70’s and extremely animated interviews from the crew that helped make it happen. It was so suspenseful and well crafted that I forgot it was a documentary.

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slumdog_millionaireBest Picture

Will Win: Slumdog Millionaire

Who Should Win: Slumdog Millionaire

Benjamin Button lead all films with 13 nominations but I think it’s destined to be this years Babel. Both are films that peaked too early. Slumdog is the clear favorite and came out of nowhere. I think history and the Academy will remember Slumdog as 2008’s most memorable film.

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Foreign Language Film

Will Win: Waltz with Bashir

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the_reader2Writing (Adapted Screenplay)

Will Win: The Reader


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milk-2008-movieWriting (Original Screenplay)

Will Win: Milk

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Musical Score

Will Win: James Newton Howard for “Defiance”

 

Most Amazing HIV/AIDS Benefit Compilation in the History of the Universe…Ever January 22, 2009

dark-was-the-nightSeriously, I fell over when I saw the line-up for this.

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Actually that’s in no way true, I was laying on the couch at the time, but perhaps I rolled around or something. Anyway, the legendary London based 4AD label will be releasing Dark Was the Night on behalf of The Red Hot Organization to benefit their international HIV/AIDS relief efforts.

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The 2-disc, 31 track album features exclusive new music from the most important, innovative bands and artists in the indie music scene. I’ve never seen anything like this before and I’m sooo stoked!!! I’m so excited that I actually just said “stoked” for the first time in my life.
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The Red Hot Organization has partnered with pop culture’s most influential figures to raise finances and awareness through various collaborative media projects. Red Hot has donated over 7 million dollars since its founding in 1989.
Please check out the links and support this very worthy and inspiring project.
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P.S.- I heard somewhere that anyone who illegally downloads a charity album will spend eternity being poked with pitchforks by a whole gang of little mischievous devils
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P.S.#2 – just so no one gets offended and attempts to point out the Theological error in my initial P.S. statement, I’ll clarify that no one will go to hell for illegally downloading a charity album but it does mean that they suck.
Widget wouldn't load on my page, so check out the 3 songs on Bekah's by clicking the link!

Widget wouldn't load on my page, so check out the 3 songs on Bekah's by clicking the link!

 

The Piano and things to come… January 21, 2009

So today is Jan. 21st which means tomorrow is Jan. 22nd – the day that Oscar Nominations are being announced, which means I’m excited. I’m in the process of viewing all of the films that will be up for significant awards. I’ve seen several, and I will begin posting reflections on them as well as opinions/predictions of the Oscars and the Independent Spirit Awards that will be held Feb 22nd and 21st respectively. First up will be a film that fared reasonable well at the Golden Globes and also has what seems like a 2 to 1 “F”-bomb to normal word ratio. Quite an impressive feat!

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Until then…Here is a very short animation video I’d like to share that is absolutely beautiful. The video by Aidan Gibbons is built around the main theme of Jean-Pierre Juenet’s wonderful 2001 French film Amélie that was composed by Yann Tierson. It very delicately shows a man in the twilight of his life looking back on the passage of time. Very touching. I hope you all enjoy.
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Vodpod videos no longer available.