6.24.2012

Tonight at The HOLLYWOOD BOWL - Glen Campbell's FINAL LA Show.

Why You Must See Glen Campbell’s Final LA Show TONIGHT.

Sunday night marks Glen Campbell’s final performance in Los Angeles.  

It will be at the Hollywood Bowl as part of KCRW’s World Festival and I’m excited and proud that we’re a part of this historic night.

About a year ago, Glen Campbell was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.  Since then he has remained on tour – a tour he calls “The Goodbye Tour”.  He has said that continuing to perform in front of audiences keeps him happy (and could even be delaying the severity of the onset of the disease). His voice and guitar playing are still remarkable.

This show looms large for me, not just because I grew up watching the Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour, but also because his contributions to songwriting and guitar playing have been undeniable.

Glen was part of the quintessential Southern California elite session players, called The Wrecking Crew.  These are the guys that played on just about every important record and album that came out of Southern California for close to four decades – “Pet Sounds”, “California Dreaming,” “These Boots Are Made For Walking”…  Nat King Cole, The Monkees, Simon and Garfunkel, Phil Spector’s Wall of Sound (these guys, Glen Campbell included, WERE the fucking Wall of Sound!) There is an incredible documentary about the Wrecking Crew that to this day hasn’t had a commercial release.  You can see the trailer for it here.

Lots of friends are showing up for this special evening.

During the first half Dawes will perform and serve as the house band with all of the special guests. Jackson Browne, Kris Kristofferson, Lucinda Williams, Jenny Lewis, Courtney Taylor-Taylor (from Dandy Warhols). Everyone has been at the Bowl this week getting ready for Sunday night!

All the songs by the special guests were either songs that Glen recorded and released under his own name, or they are songs that Glen recorded as part of The Wrecking Crew and are largely uncredited.

Many people don’t know that Glen was the guitarist on the recorded versions of “Viva Las Vegas”, “Daydream Believer”, “Last Train to Clarksville”, and “I Get Around” – all of which will be performed in the first half by the special guests.

The second half of the show will be Glen performing with his band in his final Los Angeles appearance.

Do yourself a favor and watch this now. There won’t be a dry eye in the house when he plays 'Wichita Lineman" - Anne Litt

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6.19.2012

CINEFAMILY Presents... 'BASS on FILM' - Two Nights of Film, Commercials, Titles, Shorts and Rarities of SAUL BASS. 6.23 & 6.24.






 

Whether you realize it or not, you’ve been touched by and have admired designer/filmmaker Saul Bass — his striking work is ubiquitous to the modern eye, and his name has become synonymous with graphic design. You’ve frequently taken in his elegant, striking logos, from the AT&T “death star” to the silhouetted Girl Scout cookie sisters. He single-handedly reinvented the movie title sequence (Vertigo, West Side Story, Exodus and Goodfellas? All Bass creations), illustrated the most stylistically influential movie posters, and probably created the best film sequence Hitchcock ever directed — yes, the shower scene from Psycho. Yet an equally brilliant area of his work remains vastly under seen: commercials, whimsical educational and industrial films, a fantastical Ray Bradbury adaptation, and Phase IV, one of the most visually striking sci-fi features from the genre’s Seventies golden age. With precise efficiency, Bass (with his wife/collaborator Elaine) communicated enormous feeling and information into the smallest of spaces, making him not only of our greatest designers or filmmakers — but one of the great eyes of the 20th century. With a big thank you to the Academy Film Archive and Jennifer Bass, June 23rd's program includes the lecture documentary Bass on Titles, a selection of Bass’ rare commercials, excerpts from his industrial films, The Searching Eye (created for the 1964 World’s Fair), his beloved pull-out-all-stops Why Man Creates, and more! Plus, legendary title designer/Saul Bass contemporary Pablo Ferro will be at the Cinefamily in person to speak on the subject of Bass’s cultural influence!

June 24th -

Seekers of celestial psych cinema need no longer cue up 2001’s “Jupiter and Beyond the Infinite” to unlock their third eye: enter the optically luscious, organically abstract and singular universe of one of the 20th century’s greatest artists. Saul Bass once said “design is thinking made visual” and, throughout his career, always thought two steps ahead of the collective consciousness, birthing images both instantly timeless and boldly progressive. It’s a testament to Bass’s unique eye that his 1980 educational short The Solar Film (exploring how we can harness the sun’s power) manages to make our own Spaceship Earth feel alien and fantastic — and that his jaw-dropping, crystalline 1983 sci-fi short Quest (adapting a story by the late Ray Bradbury) achieves effects of such scope and quality on such limited means that George Lucas made his staff at ILM study it. As amazing as these shorts are, they are the worker ants to the queen ant that is his monumental achievement Phase IV, a triumph of visual storytelling that communicates impending sentient insect peril through unparalleled microphotography, sound & art design, abstract architecture and subtle gestures. As if taking Stanley Kubrick’s monolithic freakout as a cinematic challenge, Bass takes up the mantle of smart and strange sci-fi in what is rightly 2001’s legitimate progeny. Widely under appreciated and guaranteed to be the most stunning theatrical experience you’ll have this year, Bass’ sole feature is a trip you don’t want to miss.

Phase IV- Dir. Saul Bass, 1974, 35mm, 91 min.
Select archival material courtesy of the Academy Film Archive.

 

 “Saul Bass wasn’t just an artist who contributed to the first several minutes of some of the greatest movies in history — in my opinion his body of work qualifies him as one of the best filmmakers of one of this, or any other time.“Steven Spielberg


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6.08.2012

GO SEE - BARRY McGEE @ Prism - On View Now through June 30, 2012.



PRISM is pleased to announce an exhibition of new work by Barry McGee. In his second exhibition at the gallery, McGee integrates his visual language, with its striking geometric compositions, color fields and recurring characters into a site-responsive installation that converts the gallery into a dynamic and vibrant space. Viewers are immersed in purposeful chaos reflected in McGee’s drawings, paintings, prints, sculptures and photographs.

McGee has always been compelled towards mark-making; imprinting his sensibility on available surfaces from thin sheets of luan to the urban architecture that surrounds him. His practice has developed to invite these influences into the sphere of exhibition making and for the last two decades McGee has held an indelible place in contemporary art. He works on a prodigious scale and his work points to the perpetually renewed and decaying landscape of art, advertising and the highly graphic.

Barry McGee was born in San Francisco in 1966. He studied painting and printmaking and graduated with a BFA from the San Francisco Art Institute in 1991. The Berkeley Art Museum will present a comprehensive retrospective of McGee's work in August of 2012. This retrospective follows solo exhibitions with BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, Gateshead (2008); Redcat, Los Angeles, USA (2007); The Watari Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo, Japan (2007); John Kaldor Art Projects, Australia (2004); Prada Foundation, Milan, Italy (2002): UCLA Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, USE (2000); and Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, USA (1998). He has participated in major exhibitions, including the Lyon Biennale, France (2009); Life on Mars, the 55th Carnegies International, Pittsburgh, USA (2006); Mediations In An Emergency, Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit, Michigan, USA (2006); The Liverpool Biennale, Liverpool (2002); Drawing Now, Museum of Modern Art, New York, USA (2002), and the 49th Venice Biennale, Venice, Italy (2001).

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6.06.2012

Ray Bradbury, Master of Science Fiction, Dies at 91.


 
Ray Bradbury, a master of science fiction whose lyrical evocations of the future reflected both the optimism and the anxieties of his own postwar America, died on Tuesday in Southern California. He was 91.

By many estimations Mr. Bradbury was the writer most responsible for bringing modern science fiction into the literary mainstream. His name would appear near the top of any list of major science-fiction writers of the 20th century, beside those of Isaac Asimov, Arthur C. Clarke, Robert A. Heinlein and the Polish author Stanislaw Lem.
In Mr. Bradbury’s lifetime more than eight million copies of his books were sold in 36 languages. They included the short-story collections “The Martian Chronicles,” “The Illustrated Man” and “The Golden Apples of the Sun,” and the novels “Fahrenheit 451” and “Something Wicked This Way Comes.”

Though none won a Pulitzer Prize, Mr. Bradbury received a special Pulitzer citation in 2007 “for his distinguished, prolific and deeply influential career as an unmatched author of science fiction and fantasy.” 

Mr. Bradbury sold his first story to a magazine called Super Science Stories before his 21st birthday, and by the time he was 30 he had made his reputation with “The Martian Chronicles,” a collection of thematically linked stories published in 1950.


The book celebrated the romance of space travel while condemning the social abuses that modern technology had made possible, and its impact was immediate and lasting. Critics who had dismissed science fiction as adolescent prattle praised “Chronicles” as stylishly written morality tales set in a future that seemed just around the corner.


Mr. Bradbury was hardly the first writer to represent science and technology as a mixed bag of blessings and abominations. The advent of the atomic bomb in 1945 left many Americans deeply ambivalent toward science. The same “super science” that had ended World War II now appeared to threaten the very existence of civilization. Science-fiction writers, who were accustomed to thinking about the role of science in society, had trenchant things to say about this threat.


But the audience for science fiction, published mostly in pulp magazines, was small and insignificant. Mr. Bradbury looked to a larger audience: the readers of mass-circulation magazines like Mademoiselle and The Saturday Evening Post. These readers had no patience for the technical jargon of the science-fiction pulps. So he eliminated the jargon; he packaged his troubling speculations about the future in an appealing blend of cozy colloquialisms and poetic metaphors.

“The Martian Chronicles” remains perhaps Mr. Bradbury’s best-known work. It became a staple of high school and college English courses, an achievement not without irony; Mr. Bradbury disdained formal education. He went so far as to attribute his success as a writer to his never having gone to college.

Instead he read everything he could get his hands on, by authors including Edgar Allan Poe, Jules Verne, H. G. Wells, Edgar Rice Burroughs, Thomas Wolfe and Ernest Hemingway. He paid homage to them in 1971 in the autobiographical essay “How Instead of Being Educated in College, I Was Graduated From Libraries.” (Late in life he took an active role in fund-raising efforts for public libraries in Southern California.)

Mr. Bradbury referred to himself as an “idea writer,” by which he meant something quite different from erudite or scholarly. “I have fun with ideas; I play with them,” he said. “ I’m not a serious person, and I don’t like serious people. I don’t see myself as a philosopher. That’s awfully boring.” He added, “My goal is to entertain myself and others.”
He described his method of composition as “word association,” often triggered by a favorite line of poetry.

Mr. Bradbury’s passion for books found expression in his dystopian novel “Fahrenheit 451,” published in 1953. But he drew his primary inspiration from his childhood in Illinois. He boasted that he had total recall of his earliest years, including the moment of his birth. Readers had no reason to doubt him. In his best stories and in his autobiographical novel, “Dandelion Wine” (1957), he gave voice to both the joys and fears of childhood.
As for the protagonists of his stories, no matter how far they journeyed from home, they learned that they could never escape the past.


An unathletic child who suffered from bad dreams, he relished the tales of the Brothers Grimm and the Oz stories of L. Frank Baum, which his mother read to him. An aunt, Neva Bradbury, took him to his first stage plays, dressed him in monster costumes for Halloween and introduced him to Poe’s stories. He discovered the science-fiction pulps and began collecting the comic-strip adventures of Buck Rogers and Flash Gordon. A conversation with a carnival magician named Mr. Electrico that touched on immortality gave the 12-year-old Bradbury the impetus to become a writer.

In 1934 the family moved to Los Angeles, where Mr. Bradbury became a movie buff, sneaking into theaters as often as nine times a week. Encouraged by a high school English teacher and the professional writers he met at the Los Angeles chapter of the Science Fiction League, he began a lifelong routine of turning out at least a thousand words a day on his typewriter.

His first big success came in 1947 with the short story “Homecoming,” narrated by a boy who feels like an outsider at a family reunion of witches, vampires and werewolves because he lacks supernatural powers. The story, plucked from the pile of unsolicited manuscripts at Mademoiselle by a young editor named Truman Capote, earned the 27-year-old Mr. Bradbury an O. Henry Award in 1947 as one of the best American short stories of the year.

With 26 other stories in a similar vein, “Homecoming” appeared in Mr. Bradbury’s first book, “Dark Carnival,” published by a small specialty press in 1947. That same year he married Marguerite Susan McClure, whom he had met in a Los Angeles bookstore.

Having written himself “down out of the attic,” as he later put it, Mr. Bradbury focused on science fiction. In a burst of creativity between 1946 and 1950, he produced most of the stories later collected in “The Martian Chronicles” and “The Illustrated Man” and the novella that formed the basis of “Fahrenheit 451.”

While science-fiction purists complained about Mr. Bradbury’s cavalier attitude toward scientific facts — he gave his fictional Mars an impossibly breathable atmosphere — the literary establishment waxed enthusiastic. The novelist Christopher Isherwood greeted Mr. Bradbury as “a very great and unusual talent,” and one of Mr. Bradbury’s personal heroes, Aldous Huxley, hailed him as a poet. In 1954 the National Institute of Arts and Letters honored Mr. Bradbury for “his contributions to American literature,” in particular the novel “Fahrenheit 451.”

“The Martian Chronicles” was pieced together from 26 stories, only a few of which were written with the book in mind. The patchwork narrative spans the years 1999 to 2026, depicting a series of expeditions to Mars and their aftermath. The native Martians, who can read minds, resist the early arrivals from Earth, but are finally no match for them and their advanced technology as the humans proceed to destroy the remains of an ancient civilization.

Parallels to the fate of American Indian cultures are pushed to the point of parody; the Martians are finally wiped out by an epidemic of chicken pox. When nuclear war destroys Earth, the descendants of the human colonists realize that they have become the Martians, with a second chance to create a just society.

“Fahrenheit 451,” Mr. Bradbury’s indictment of book-burning in a near-future America (the title refers to the temperature at which paper ignites), is perhaps his most successful book-length narrative. It was made into a well-received movie by Fran├žois Truffaut in 1966. The cautionary tale of a so-called fireman, whose job is to start fires, “Fahrenheit 451” has been favorably compared to George Orwell’s “1984.”

As Mr. Bradbury’s reputation grew, he found new outlets for his talents. He wrote the screenplay for John Huston’s 1956 film version of “Moby-Dick,” scripts for the television series “Alfred Hitchcock Presents” and collections of poetry and plays.

In 2004 President and Mrs. George W. Bush presented him with the National Medal of Arts.

While Mr. Bradbury championed the space program as an adventure that humanity dared not shirk, he was content to restrict his own adventures to the realm of imagination. He lived in the same house in Los Angeles for more than 5o years, rearing four daughters with his wife, Marguerite, who died in 2003. For many years he refused to travel by plane, preferring trains, and he never learned to drive.

Though the sedentary writing life appealed to him most, he was not reclusive. He developed a flair for public speaking, which made him a sought-after figure on the national lecture circuit. There he talked about his struggle to reconcile his mixed feelings about modern life, a theme that animated much of the fiction that won him such a large and sympathetic audience.

And he talked about the future, perhaps his favorite subject, describing how it both attracted and repelled him, leaving him with apprehension and hope. - NYT