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dimanche, octobre 30, 2011

 Enough is enough: shut up already.

Steve Jobs sister: 'Death didn't happen to Steve, he achieved it'

Yes, I'm sure that he really had control there. He "achieved" death like we all "achieve" breathing when we're asleep.

When will this madness of deifying Jobs end?!

ETA: Even mentioning Bill Gates' Foundation makes Job supporters angry. Madness!

Libellés :

[Enough is enough: shut up already.]
Sngs Alumni @ 30.10.11 { 0 comments }

lundi, octobre 24, 2011

 How it started

I know I never coveted Levis jeans till this lot of ads came out: the Levis Lot 53 range, as worn by the cast of Roswell way back in 2000. I also think that my penchant for rolling up my jeans are long-echos of Majandra Delfino's styling in this bunch of photos.

(also, crisis: if I still love this bunch of photos, have I not grown stylistically since 2000?!)

Libellés :

[How it started]
Sngs Alumni @ 24.10.11 { 0 comments }

vendredi, octobre 21, 2011

 Dream outfit

One of the outfits which I coveted in my teen years was Sheryl Crow's outfit in her Soak Up The Sun MTV... and SUDDENLY on facebook, she announces that the very outfit is on sale for the benefit of Delta Children's Home!

I cannot tell you how much  I was in love with the utter beachy happiness of the fabric - white, semi-sheer, with a flower print. I remember coming across a very, very similar top (sheer, white, but with purple flowers instead) in either Topshop or Warehouse (with Kris I think), and encountered one of the few times I actually told myself - I have to buy this or I might die.

The absolute life-and-death certainty of my teen sartorial situations puts a smile on my face now, but they were deadly serious back then. The top is still amazing, and I would re-buy it in a heartbeat if it were available in the stores (albeit in a much, much larger size now... sigh.)

Unfortunately, the top is no more - given away because it shrank (!!!) and no longer flowed well. Plus my beach holidays tend to be more grungy than happy floaty.

Libellés :

[Dream outfit]
Sngs Alumni @ 21.10.11 { 2 comments }

 Long-Takes (Hello Diana!)

I've been thinking and looking into what makes a good or bad long-take for a while now. Ever since the amazing long-take X-Files episode Triangle (directed by Chris Carter), I've been fascinated by the precision needed of these scenes (and filming one of them is of course, a pipe dream of mine.) Technically, blocking is difficult enough as it is on stage plays, and I've seen enough ugly blocking that ruins entire scenes with awkwardness (trust me on this, I've watched enough of Roswell to make you shudder violently.)

Going further into my television history and love affair with long-takes, the other show I used to watch at that time was The West Wing - whose crew really took it up a notch as they kicked videography into high gear with TWW's pedaconferences - and the sheer amount of PEOPLE running around in these things! - into their camera tracking. Most West Wing episodes are a thing of beauty. In fact, the whole corridor-tracking thing got parodied by MadTV one upon a time. I can't imagine how many laughs the cast of TWW must have gotten from banging into each other during their power-walks.

My most recent long-track discovery is in the movie version of Joss Whedon's excellent Firefly, a short-lived but much-beloved space cowboy show which only survived 13 episodes before being sent to the network guillotine. Yes, I know, the tv show debuted in 2002, what am I doing discovering it near 10 years after the fact? I plead guilty in this case - had too many shows to watch and not enough time to watch them. (Actually, I'm not sure that Channel 5 ever showed this series. I definitely remember watching the sad and short-lived Space: Above and Beyond (by Glen Morgan and James Wong) religiously till its death in ...Tell Our Moms We Done Our Best... but that's another post on my love of science fiction and geekdom.)

The hue and cry which ensued after Firefly was cancelled sealed the deal for its move to the big screen, and Serenity was released in 2005. The start of the show had a pretty neat long-take scene which required some nifty work on the part of the entire crew - the cast, blocking and choregraphy, the timing had to be precise, lighting, sound, fx crew (in the engine room) - everything was beautiful. I particularly enjoyed the camera's contribution as it panned slowly and calmly upwards as the scene concluded - creating a serenity (pun intended) leading to Summer Glau's beautifully delivered line, "I know. We're going for a ride." Some sites have mentioned that this was a splice of two long-takes, but still you can see the beauty of the art in the sequence:

I hear that Summer Glau mucked up her line once during a take, to the incredulity and exasperation of the cast since she was the last one with a line... but I guess someone has to muck up, else this wouldn't be real life.

There are other legendary long-takes, which are well-documented, so I won't belabour the point that long-takes rock. For more info: Listverse Top 15 Amazing Long Takes | Ugo 10 Long Takes | Daily Dose of Film Long Takes | Den of Geek: Long Take Fight Scenes


Perhaps it's just my love for the long-take, but I'm surprised not to see it being used in more effect in film. While the regular effect of the long-take usually has the viewer a little bit breathless (or maybe it's just me), there are things which could be done with the long-take that pushes the envelope just that bit further.

On the bright side, music videos seem to be taking advantage of their short-lives to do exactly this. Beyonce's Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It) one-take shows off that her dance skillz (amongst other things) aren't to be trifled with, Kylie Minogue's Come Into My World proves ...er... that she can really spin around and around and around (and can afford some pretty nifty video fx), and Bruno Mar's Lazy Song tells us that (1) yes, he looks really strange, and (2) so do his friends. And (3) guys are kinda gross when left to their own devices at home.

But seriously, there's some good stuff out there. Case in point: Will Young's Leave Right Now. It's a neat example of how a no-cut video can be pushed a little further as the 4th wall is broken by both Will Young AND his friends who are treating the camera like a buddy Will is talking to. They make apologetic gazes at the camera, and the viewer then feels like he's been having a conversation with Young, whose presence his companions are trying to extricate from the party. One of the more appropriate uses of the long-take.

I also remember being pretty impressed with REM's Imitation of Life when the mtv came out... but re-watching it now, I'm not sure if it can be considered a one-shot video, since there was a lot of post-processing involved with the zoom-in/zoom-out bits. Whatever the case, it's a video which makes use of a single mise-en-scene to underline the message that the song conveys.

There are duds, of course - James Blunt's infernally annoying You're Beautiful has him stripping off and jumping into the sea as it snows is the classic example of a 'waaat a waste of my time' MTV. But that gives rise to another fun form of art: the parody. MadTV has one, and apparently annoyed listeners have made others, like this:

Even good songs and artistes aren't immune to the pointless - or more charitably - unmaximised potential of the long-take scene sometimes aren't utilised by artistes. Massive Attack's Unfinished Symphony is a fine song, but the mtv was rather bland and pointless. The song is trance-like enough, and I honestly didn't need a walk down the streets of downtown Detroit (or wherever, it doesn't matter) to put me finally to sleep.

The lesson with long-takes? With great power comes great responsibility. Use the long-take wisely, and avoid being in the cross-hairs of MadTV, or the annoyed public.

[also: hello di, this post is for you :) ]

[Long-Takes (Hello Diana!)]
Sngs Alumni @ 21.10.11 { 1 comments }

jeudi, octobre 06, 2011


Size: 20 feet long x 8 feet high
Medium: Bronze
Location: GSK World Headquarters
16th and Vine Streets, Philadelphia, PA

Libellés :

Sngs Alumni @ 6.10.11 { 0 comments }

lundi, octobre 03, 2011

 Facebook life

Reading Facebook/Tweet updates - the posts, photos and paraphernalia gives us a really skewed outlook on life. Everyone's always either having fun or being embarrassed. Nobody really suffers, and nobody really hurts. So real life and real living burrows deeper inside us, and the frosting on the outside gets harder and more opaque.

[Facebook life]
Sngs Alumni @ 3.10.11 { 0 comments }

dimanche, octobre 02, 2011


Creme brulee!

Sngs Alumni @ 2.10.11 { 0 comments }

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Musings on Rick Warren's Purpose-Driven Life (PII)


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Stuff I'd Like
Lake Tahoe
Pyramids, Egypt
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Taj Mahal
Great Ocean Road
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Great Barrier Reef to DIVE!
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