Good Timing. Sometimes.

Timing can be good, or bad. Usually, at least for me, it is bad. Last night, though, there was that exception to the rule, when timing was perfect. A welcome exception to the rule, I must say.

The plan was to see two movies at the Independent Film Festival Boston at the Somerville Theatre, “The Way, Way Back” at 7:45pm and then at 9:45pm the documentary “The Punk Singer” about Kathleen Hanna. There was also a free ticket available for me to see Josh Rouse live at the Sinclair. The Man, had won two tickets and he was going to be at the Sinclair before me. He was going to ask if he could leave the second ticket at the box office for me to pick up, and text me the details. Rouse was going up at 10pm, so there was the chance I could catch his full set.

“The Way, Way Back” started 15 minutes late, at around 8pm, which meant it would go until 9:45pm. That was cutting it close. At 9:30pm there was still no text from the Man. The movie was almost ending, but not quite yet. At 9:38 I got the text, that he had my ticket and I would text him when I got there, so he could meet me at the door to hand me my ticket. A couple of minutes later the movie ended, and as the credits started rolling, I rushed out (which by the way, is something I hate doing, I always want to see the credits. Also, the movie is hilarious, I recommend it).

There was a gazillion people in the lobby, but I had to be quick. It was 9:45pm, the exact time “The Punk Singer” was supposed to start. It looked like there were seating people, and I had heard that it was sold out. I went to the rush line outside, where five or so people were standing. I asked if anyone wanted a ticket to the Punk Singer, the first two people were together, so they wanted two, the third one, a woman, needed one. I sold her my ticket, and the seconds it took her to find the $10 bill in her wallet, felt like 10 minutes. I was sorry I was going to miss the documentary, but I hope it will be shown again at some point in my area, so I can eventually catch it.

With the ticket sold, I ran to the T station right next door, tried to get through the gate, but I didn’t have enough money on my Charlie Card. It sounded like a train was coming, I added value, went through the gate, and as I was running down the stairs the inbound train was opening its doors.

I got on the train and sat down to take a breath. OK, good timing, I thought to myself. Harvard Square is only two stops away from Davis, so it was a quick train ride, and at that moment I thought how great it was that all the cool things I wanted to do were so close to each other and so close to where I live. North Cambridge, I love you!

I got off at Harvard, went up to the Church Street exit, walked down Church Street. At that point I realized I had never been to the Sinclair before, so I didn’t know exactly where on Church Street the entrance was. For some reason I thought it was next to the Fire+Ice. I went in through that door next to the Fire+Ice, and it looked like an office lobby with elevators at the left side. OK, not the entrance to the club, I thought. Through the doors straight ahead and to the right, I could hear music, but the doors weren’t labeled or anything, they looked more like exit doors. Nevertheless, without thinking much, I went to one of the doors ahead of me, I pulled, it opened, and just like that I found myself inside the Sinclair, with a couple of surprised people looking at me. OK, that surprisingly worked, I thought. The stage was ahead, and no one was playing, so that was good, I hadn’t missed any of Rouse’s set. I went to the right, where the bar is, and then I saw the entrance next to the bar. Good to know where the actual entrance is, for future reference.

Josh Rouse was still not on stage, I texted the Man to see where he was, but the text wasn’t going though. I started looking around, I saw him standing by the bar, and I went in front of him and went “BOO!” He was like, “What, how did you get inside, I have your ticket?!”, and I told him the whole story. It was like I went to that show for free twice, not only did I have a free ticket, but I had also made it in with no ticket at all. Which could very well mean that I used up my free-entry-to-shows quota on the same show, but what can you do.

We got beers, settled closer to the stage, and in a minute Josh Rouse and his band came on stage and started playing. It was a great set. We took the T to head back to Davis, and as we made it to the platform the train was pulling in to the station. We got on the train, sat down, and there was a quarter on the seat right next to mine, like a tiny goodbye gift concluding a good day. Perfect timing, or what?

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2012 Year In Review

Here we are on the last day of 2012. A year that went by fast, and looking back, it was a mix of good and bad. Now is the time I am looking through my notes to see what happened in the year expiring soon. Here’s a summary of what fun things I did, what I liked and didn’t like, and the notable things that happened in my life in 2012:

Movies: I counted them all, in 2012 I watched 83 movies, that is an average of 1.6 movies per week. During the Independent Film Festival of Boston I would see up to three movies a day, but generally I go to the movies at least once a week. It turns out this year I saw plenty of classic and old movies at the Brattle, and finally did the wise thing and acquired a Brattle membership, which saves me some money. The movies I liked best this year were ‘The Kid With A Bike’, the Belgian movie by the Dardenne brothers; ‘Jiro Dreams of Sushi’ a documentary about the Japanese sushi master Jiro Ono; Wes Anderson’s ‘Moonrise Kingdom’; the offbeat, different ‘Safety Not Guaranteed’; the heart breaking ‘Take This Waltz’; the tough and incredibly moving ‘Oslo, August 31st’; the touching ‘The Perks of Being a Wallflower’; and the fascinating documentary ‘The Imposter’. A quick note to mention ‘Lincoln’ for the superb acting by Daniel Day-Lewis, and Paul Thomas Anderson’s ‘The Master’ for the visual beauty. I also liked a lot Bradley Cooper and Robert De Niro in ‘Silver Linings Playbook’. The movie that creeped me out the most, made me feel extremely uncomfortable and wish I had not seen was Pedro Almodóvar’s ‘The Skin I Live In”. Oh, and I am not seeing ‘Les Miserables’ because I absolutely hate musicals.

Music: I went to 18 live shows this year. Some shows stood out, like the Radiohead show, the Mogwai show, which finally happened after two prior cancellations, and the Saint Etienne show at the Paradise, where everyone was dancing happily away. I saw the most interesting lighting and staging at the Grizzly Bear show at the Orpheum. The worst show? The Jesus and Mary Chain, no contest. The Paradise still remains the best venue in the area to see live music. I just wish it was located somewhere in Camberville. I can’t say there was a band or album this year I adored, but I did listen to some music I liked a lot, like Tanlines, Alt-J, Beach House, Lower Dens and Beach Fossils. After seeing Frank Ocean and the Dirty Projectors making everyone’s best music of the year list, I tried to listened to them, but I find them unbearable. Frank Ocean’s music is plainly boring, and the Dirty Projectors singer sounds like your friend who keeps singing along to every song he hears, and he is always off-key.

UPDATE: I can’t believe I forgot to mention this but my favorite song this year was Japandroid’s ‘The House That Heaven Built’. Yeah.

 

Theater: Not too much theater in my life this year. I mostly went to plays my friend TMB was in, like ‘Measure For Measure’, ‘Waiting For Lefty’ and ‘Anne of the Green Gables’. I also saw an interesting production of ‘Uncle Vanya’ at the Apollinaire Theatre in Chelsea, and David Adjmi’s ‘Marie Antoinette’ at the ART, a play I found was trying too hard to be witty.

Art: I visited the ICA and the MFA a couple of times each. I liked the exhibition Degas and the Nude the best, because I really, really like drawings. Really. Also at the ICA I saw Sam Green’s live documentary ‘The Love Song of R. Buckminster Fuller’ with live music by Yo La Tengo. And I love Yo La Tengo.

Food, Drink: I liked Casa B in Union Square in Somerville, a space with unique and pretty cool interior design and delicious tapas. I finally made it to Santarpio’s where I discovered the best pizza in town. I also liked Strip T’s in Watertown, West Bridge, and Belly Wine Bar in Kendall Square. I was impressed by the food at the Garden at the Cellar, which might be Cambridge’s best kept secret. The food is amazing, how come I didn’t know? I also paid many visits to iYo the new frozen yogurt place in Davis Square. The square will soon be fro-yo central, as a second fro-yo place opened, and there are plans for a third. I had some very good cocktails at Stoddard’s downtown, and at Brick & Mortar in Central Square.

Travel: Nothing extraordinary travel-wise. I spent three lovely days in Provincetown, I love this happy and laid back place, and the amazing beaches. Speaking of beaches, I discovered Duxbury beach this year (the best beach area is south of the bridge), pretty much one of the best beaches around Boston (sorry, North Shore beaches, no comparison, really). I went to Greece for a couple of weeks to see family and friends, eat well and swim in the Mediterranean, and that’s always pretty neat and relaxing. I also visited my brother and his family in Germany. I finally got to meet my nephew, who is a very cute baby, and got to see my niece again, who is a very cute toddler.

Exercise: In the beginning of 2012 I found myself ten pounds overweight, and ten pounds is a lot for a person of my size. I had a hard time shedding off the extra pounds just by eating less. So, I started eating less and exercising more,  the magic combination that always works. After hating running for as long as I remember, this year I followed a 5k training program, and after eight weeks I was pleasantly surprised to see I could comfortably run 3 miles. I participated in my first 5k race in December, and completed the race in 28 minutes. I also started taking tennis classes, and I loved it. I can’t wait to start new classes again. I biked a lot, as usual, and I took a bicycle repair class at the Broadway Bicycle School.

A couple of other notable things from 2012: I refinanced my mortgage and once again discovered how inept the people who work in this business are. After twelve years of living here I finally decided to apply for citizenship, and became citizen on September 11. I voted for the first time, and was happy with the results. I got to meet Elizabeth Warren, the new senator from Massachusetts, so now I have met both Senators from MA in person. Oh, and being a citizen means I can now run for office, but don’t worry, I don’t plan to.

In 2012 I experienced some disappointments, but no reason to talk about that now. I do not have any major new year’s resolutions, but I will definitely try to do certain things different: I will try to visit places I haven’t been to before. I would love to have someone willing and able to travel with me, but I am also willing to travel by myself. I will try to read more, and after many years I have cancelled my New Yorker subscription in order to free up time to read the untouched books in my bookcase. I will try to get back to creative things I used to like, like drawing.

Above all, in 2013 I will do my best to find time for all the small and big things that make happy. Happy New Year.

Atoms For Peace – Boston, April 8, 2010

About a month ago (yes, that was ages ago, my ‘Writing‘ post below explains the problem), on April 8, I saw Atoms for Peace, who played live at the Wang Theatre in Boston. When tickets went on sale back in March it was -of course- a mad dash to get them. The CitiCenter website crashed in a minute, which I thought was a sign of a sold out show. I tweeted my frustration and, oh, new technology how much I love thee, the good man of Bradley’s Almanac offered the twitterverse a link that actually worked, thus making me $62.50 dollars lighter, yet happy that I would get to see Thom Yorke live.

The ticket pick-up system for the show was an interesting one: in order to crush scalpers, which in itself is a pretty good idea, they allowed the purchase of only two tickets per customer, and the only ticket-pick-up method was from the box office on the night of the show by showing the purchaser’s ID. A 3,600-person capacity sold-out venue made this effort sounding little crazy. I showed up 15 minutes before start time, and the lines for pick-up were quite long, spilling into Tremont Street. There were multiple lines and the pick-up was done by alphabetical order based on last name. They had these signs A-C D-F etc etc. Theater personnel kept coming around reminding people that the lines were by last name. My line of course was the longest, but I didn’t really mind missing five minutes of the Flying Lotus performance.

Waiting in line, solo, my eye caught a blonde, slightly skanky woman standing by the entrance door, she wasn’t in any line really. The look of the woman might be familiar: a once-upon-a-time rock chick, mid to late 40s, leather jacket, botoxed face. After a couple of minutes I had noticed her, a man in his 60s came out of the theater , and told her: “So I guess you have to wait in line to get the tickets, the tickets are by last name”. Sugardaddy? Who knows, who cares. She looked at the long lines and pouted, the pout of a person who feels entitled. Our line A-C was the slowest moving. At some point a guy with an extremely loud voice came out and shouted “All people with a last name beginning w/ C, you can go to this window”, a line he kept repeating it. A couple of minutes later the blonde skank appeared to my left on the C line. Mind you that the whole time a guy kept repeating “this line f for C pick up only.” So all of a sudden she looks at him and goes “What? This is for C only?” “Yes” says the guy. She looks at our long A-B line and goes “Now I have to go all the way at the back of the line and wait again?” “Yes” says the guy. She exhales frustrated and comes to me and asks “Can I just sneak in here?” and points in front of me. Please note the absence of a “please”. “I don’t think so,” I say firmly, but politely. She looks around to the other people in my line, nobody responds to her, so she turns to me and says “Wow, you’re so fucking …. cool” and starts walking to the end of the line. I mean, sure, lady, I’m cool. But it’s not a matter of being cool. It’s a matter of you feeling fucking entitled, that you can just cut in front of me for no good reason. No, you can’t. You’re so fucking dumb that you can’t even wait in the right line, and then you expect me to do something about it? Uh, no. You look perfectly fine, go back and wait again.

Anyway, I finally made it in the theater, what a magnificent place Wang is. Opulent, all golden trims, murals, chandeliers. Took some photos and then headed to my seat at mezzanine center, row D. Great seat and luckily no tall person with gigantic head in front of me, and the blond skank nowhere to be seen. Flying Lotus was spinning some great, danceable tunes, people looked happy. I had forgotten how big the Wang is, and it was already 3/4 full. He played a tune with a sample from “Avril 14th“, one of my favourite Aphex Twin melodies. The crowd dig him and he looked pretty happy himself, thanking the crowd as he left the stage.

Now, I’m pretty much certain that Radiohead is my favourite band. Although their last albums “In Rainbows” and “Hail to the Thief” have been slightly disappointing for me, I found Thom Yorke’s solo effort “The Eraser” a very good one. I like the electronica trip and Atoms for Peace was going to play his solo stuff plus some new material. Win, no?

When Atoms for Peace showed up on stage all 3,600 people went crazy. When they started playing you could feel the vibe of a huge party where everybody’s having fun and looks happy. They mainly played songs from Eraser plus some new material they are working on. Glad they played “Harrowdown Hill” one of my favourite songs from Eraser. The band was tight and solid. As you probably know Atoms for Peace is a supergroup: Thom Yorke, Flea (yes, that Flea of the Red Hot Chilli Peppers), Nigel Godrich (Radiohead producer), Joey Waronker (who has played with bands like R.E.M. & Smashing Pumpkins), and Mauro Refosco (has played with Davd Byrne & Forro in the Dark). What is great about these people is that they are multi-instrumentalists and very good at whatever instrument they play. What’s even better is that they are having fun playing together as it was evident from that night. Say what you will about Flea, his bass lines were dope. He did these awesome jam-offs with Thom, it looked and sounded way better than it sounds. Waronker and Refosco were very creative on the percussions, the sound was full and forceful. All of them were dancing, they looked so very happy.  And they weren’t the only ones being happy and dancing. I’m pretty sure I had a grin on my face all night long. And 3,500 people dancing non-stop, that’s pretty awesome. At some point I paused dancing to get my camera out, and holly shit, the mezzanine was vibrating like it was going to fall down in the orchestra. Honestly, I got a little bit worried, I turned to the guy on my left, and asked him if that was OK, he said don’t worry the balcony at the Orpheum is way worse. Great, thanks. I resumed my dancing, it made me feel better. They also played one of Radiohead’s songs dearest to my heart ‘Like Spinning Plates’. Actually it was more Thom on piano. What a lovely song…

The only slightly off-putting moment of the show was when Thom started talking about politics. He said something like “your political system is fucked up” and then mentioned that the British political system is fucked up too. Well, he might be right, but you can’t really explain this in three sentences. I’m pretty sure he has a valid reason for saying this, but three free-standing sentences without context sound like teenage aphorisms. It might have been better if he said something like ‘hey, people I wrote an essay about how fucked up our political system is, it’s on my website, check it out. ‘

Oh, anyway, I forgave Thom right away and went back to enjoying the music and the dancing, and left with a smile on my face and melodies and rhythms mashups in my head. Bliss.

“Amor”

Sometimes you watch a movie and you discover something that feels special to you: a cute actor, a funny line, a touching line, an image, a song. I have discovered some great music from watching movies. I like to think that being the soundtrack supervisor for a film would be one of the coolest jobs. I remember a few years back I watched the french film “Comme Une Image” (“Look At Me”.) It was a touching Agnès Jaoui film, sometimes brutal, sometimes funny, sometimes beautiful. It was about this chubby girl who has self confidence issues, but has the gift of a magnificent voice.

What I vividly remember from the film is a scene at an old small church where she & her classmates give a recital. And she sings one of the most touching pieces I have ever heard, “Amor, dicea” from Claudio Monteverdi’s “Lamento della Ninfa“. At that point I didn’t know who was the composer or what the piece was called. But the melody stayed with me. I couldn’t forget it. 

A couple of weeks ago I saw a listing for an upcoming Handel and Haydn Society concert “Zest for Love” at Sanders Theater in Cambridge featuring music by Monteverdi, poetry by Shakespeare. I got instantly excited, “Zest for love, Monteverdi, I’ll be damned if they don’t perform Amor,” I thought. And they did perform it. A classical music concert sounds like a more decent thing to do on a day (February 14) that it’s imperative to celebrate love. I have a problem with this hallmark holiday. I can celebrate love everyday or simply whenever I want, I don’t need anybody to tell me when. But for some people that day is important, and attending the concert was much better than going to an expensive and busy restaurant.

So we spent that Sunday afternoon  listening to the magnificent music of Monteverdi performed by a very good orchestra and chorus. My favorite piece “Amor, dicea” came in at about the middle of the concert. Listening to it live was an amazing experience.  And it wasn’t just a sonic experience; I could feel the music with my whole body. It was moving, it was touching, it was simply beautiful…

Note: You can listen to “Lamento della Ninfa” here; “Amor, dicea”, the second part, starts at 1:34 and is performed by Natalie Dessay.

MBTA Clusterf&%k Before Yo La Tengo

Yesterday I was caught up in that MBTA clusterf#%k. Oh, good times. MBTA dahrling, you don’t stop surprising me, a new problem everytime. At least you’re being creative, you’re not boring me to death.

TMB and I got to Davis at 7:15pm to take the train. The platform was busy, but OK I thought, maybe that’s just commuter / rush hour traffic. The train came, but I noticed something strange: the sign on the front car, instead of reading Ashmont or Braintree, read “Central Sq”. Strange, but then again MBTA have messed up systems anyway (like the automated stop-announcing system getting stuck to “Next Stop Charles MGH” for 10 stops), so I didn’t worry too much.

Well, maybe I should have: after boarding the train there came an announcement that nobody was able to make out, just because the PA system on the trains is so lame and inefficient. But we were able to hear the PA the third time it announced that the last stop for this train would be Central Sq and then there will be shuttle buses from Central to JFK. Great, MBTA wants to prove us right, that they DO suck indeed. The train was being very slow, standing by every few yards for 10 minutes.

Right after leaving Harvard the train stopped again. For a long time that felt like forever. People grew agitated and kept asking what did they say and what was that, cause as I mentioned before the PA system is just useless. There was this woman, who kept asking the same questions: Her: “What did they say?” Us:”They said that Central would be the last stop and then they would have shuttle buses from Central to JFK” Her: “Shuttle buses?!” Us: “Yes, shuttle buses from Central to JFK” Her: “But I want to get off at Park” Us: “[Silence]” Her: “So the next stop after Central will be JFK?” Us: “No, the shuttle buses will make all the stops in between” Her: “Shuttle buses?!” Us: “[Please somebody shoot me in the eye right now]”

These moments were just precious: there was this guy in his early twenties, who was asking questions too, like “Is it always like this?” Hmmm, interesting, I thought, a tourist marveling at how hard MBTA works to boost tourism in the greater  Boston area. People were trying to sort of explain the situation, although at that point we really didn’t know what had caused the service interruption: did somebody jump in the tracks, touched the third rail, then got run over by the train? Well, that would be a bitch to clean up. [Note: These were actually thoughts, not shared with the out-of-town visitors]. I think the guy at some point got embarrassed about his own questions, so he explained to us that he had grown up in a town with 10k population, and he went to college to a town with 1,000 people. “Is this what’s going on in the big city?” he wondered aloud. Oh, yes, the bad big city welcomes you.

After 10 minutes the train finally started moving again. But backwards! Yes, it started backing up to Harvard again, which btw was the last stop for this train. Um, OK… We got out of the train and was asking the conductor questions, and the poor woman was ready to cry. She was like “I don’t know what’s going on, I don’t get any answers!”. So then she was like “You’ll have to go up and take the shuttle bus from the street”. That’s great, but there’s a minor detail, there are like 20 possible places around Harvard Sq where shuttle buses could be picking people from. She didn’t know. Oh, well… We got out, after 5 minutes we saw the shuttle buses, and the masses of people waiting to board. Arghhh…

On another example of common sense or lack thereof, the driver of the shuttle bus had only the front door open for people to board on the bus. There was this MBTA woman working outside, trying to organize the chaos and she was yelling “OPEN THE REAR DOOR”. It took the driver a couple of minutes to realize that opening both doors would speed up the process, and btw you are a flippin’ shuttle bus. We were able to get on the next bus, and were securely packed in like sardines. It was hot and stuffy, and when we got to Charles MGH we got off, cause I couldn’t breathe. So, it took us one hour from Davis to Charles MGH. Jeez!

We walked from Charles to the Wilbur Theatre. Yes, that was the destination, the Wilbur Theatre to see Yo La Tengo play live. TMB would have liked to get  a beer, but we didn’t really know what time exactly YLT would be on, so we decided against it. I needed hydration badly, so I got a bottle of water from the theatre which cost it’s weight in gold ($4). Yura Yura Teikoku opened, a japanese psychedelic band and some of their songs were good. I took some photographs, it was really good that the staff didn’t go around bitching about the use of an SLR. Yes, I DID ignore the signs outside saying NO photography or video are allowed, cause I just spent $4 for a 99c water bottle,  I think it’s OK if I take a couple of photos and video clips, which btw you can see here.

Yo La Tengo got on at 9:20. I liked the backdrop with the colored buttons. Georgia is an amazing drummer, so fluid, so darn good. Ira made noise, as in lots of noise! There was a surprise: a six string ensemble joined them for a couple of songs, students from the area that YLT had only met yesterday. The highlight of the night was Little Honda: a super extended version, with super long solos, Ira going totally crazy, two violin players joining and a first sight for me: a violin up close against the amp for distortion. Can it get better than this?! At that point I thought I had lost my hearing, but was content. In summary, they kicked ass big time!

The Flaming Lips

On Sunday I went to the Flaming Lips show at the BoA Pavilion. Ah, the Pavilion, with its white tent, reminds me of the days I worked in South Boston, and used to walk in that area every day. Nostlagia time is up, so, yes, Sunday night was a pleasant enough night for a concert, with an awesome full (or was it almost full?) moon.

Actually the main reason I wanted to go to the show was  Explosions In the Sky. I like their instrumental post-rock, full of guitar sounds.  They played before the Flaming Lips. They started at around 8:00. I love their music, but I hate the opening band treatment, that has to play with the lame lights, and use half the stage. But, their music was awesome! Then it was 8:40, and that was it! I couldn’t believe it, they only played for 40 minutes! That was disappointing! I tried to take some photos with my SLR, but, of course, you’re not allowed to shoot photos with that camera, so I had to take lame photos with my point and shoot, and none of the Explosions in the Sky came out OK. More disappointment *sigh*

Anyway, then the crew turned the stage into a serious construction site, working for half an hour to set the stage for the Flaming Lips show. Wayne Coyne was coming and going to check on the progress, he was kinda goofy. The screen at the background of the stage was projecting all cool colors and images. At some point it was showing a naked chic dancing (she looked digitally yellow, but you could tell her nakedness). After 5 minutes or so, she laid down, spread her legs, the camera zoomed in really close; then the screen at that “opening” turned out to be a door, which opened, and the band members came out of there; so, yeah, basically the dancing chic gave birth to the band members, nice, ain’t it?

Then Wayne Coyne appeared in a bubble, crowd-surfed for a little while, and the place turned into a carnival site, with balloons and confetti. I don’t know, I like their music, but I am not their biggest fan, and not sure I liked the use of so much “stuff” to get the crowd excited and going. Isn’t their music enough? No, I guess, there is always the show aspect that fans love, with yetis, dancers, etc etc. To be honest, the crowd DID get excited and the cool lights offered the opportunities for some cool photos I took and you can see here. I liked their set too, I just wish Coyne didn’t banter that much between songs.

Me, I am still looking forward to an Explosions in the Sky show.

Split/Signal – Silent Film/Scored Live @ The Armory

Last Saturday I attended Split/Signal, an event of silent films scored live. The venue was The Center for the Arts at the Armory, a recently created art space in a former armory on Highland Ave in Somerville. It was my first time visiting the Armory and I think they did a good job with the huge space. I liked the light pouring from the windows, but it was not such a good thing for the 7pm starting time as light found its way on the projection screen…

The musicians participating in the event composed original music for the silent shorts and overall the result was very good. There was also free snacks, beer and wine. The servers went around dressed as cigarette girls, carrying the glasses in trays. After trying to block the sun coming in from the high window, the event was off to a good start.

The first short film was by Jon Cianfrani and the score was done by the duo Mike Dunkley & Todd Brozman; the used their laptops to provide the electronic music score, and it was very good. Then it was time for Black Yodel’s music and Michael Maraden’s short. I liked the compact music. After that we saw Dado Ramadani’s short with ambient mostly music played by Arms & Sleepers, and right after that Devil Music provided the soundtrack for an animated Barrett Films short. Caspian was much better than I thought they would be and I liked Bryan Deblasio’s film. Roger Miller (of the Mission of Burma) composed a very fitting score for Handcranked Productions short full of scenes of american ruins; I really liked it, both visually and acoustically. The next band on was Cul De Sac with music for VJ Dziga’s film. The event ended with music by the Books and film by Rich Remsberg. They played a longer set than the others, and they were good too.

I read some complaints about the time forthe change of set up that the bands needed between acts, but I didn’t find it excessive. It gave you some time to seek more wine or beer, or go to the loo and receive compliments for the dress you were wearing (btw I liked the nice touch of mints in the women’s bathroom), or talk about the previous act, or walk around.

I was pleasantly surprised with the superb quality of sound. And I found the event to be well produced and it was something different. It’s not too common, I think, to see “silent films scored live” these days, and I totally appreciate the idea and the implementation. I was really happy I attended. I hope the Armory hosts more cool events like this, and Split / Signal put together their next project pretty soon. 

UPDATE: See more photos here