My name is Kelly Schomburg, I’m the girl with the red hair in these pictures. I was protesting at the Occupy Wall Street march yesterday when I and several other women were sprayed with mace and subsequently arrested. Many have already seen the video, which has been spreading like wildfire over twitter, Facebook, tumblr, and other video feeds, along with hundreds of other photos and videos. This is my recount of what happened.
Wow. I dare anyone to read this and not get fired the fuck up about Occupy Wall Street. It is infuriating to yet again see protestors in this country abused by police officers on a power trip. Someone call the ACLU.
It’s hard not to mourn, but when you’re ready to start organizing, here are four groups redoubling their efforts to abolish capital punishment in the US in Troy Davis’s name. Each organization was deeply involved in the fight to save Davis, and each group requires volunteers and financial support to survive.
Click here to find out about organizations working, now in Troy Davis’s name, to abolish the death penalty.
Now, there are two things you should know about the Blitzer-Paul exchange. The first is that after the crowd weighed in, Mr. Paul basically tried to evade the question, asserting that warm-hearted doctors and charitable individuals would always make sure that people…
It was frustrating (though not surprising) to me the way Blitzer framed this hypothetical, as if said man would actually be making this choice. Last I checked, most people who don’t have health care forgo coverage because they can’t afford it, not because they’re DAREDEVILS.
My world is my mind, but I'm not locking myself inside any more.
One week. One week until the day I’ve been waiting for, literally, since I was 14. The Descendents are playing Roseland Ballroom on September 23rdwith the Suicide Machines & H20, and to be totally honest I had given up any hope of seeing them live for a long time.
I was a teenager in the late 90s/early 00s and I grew up on punk rock. Through Green Day, Blink 182, and Sum 41 I found my entry way into a glorious world of rage and emotion, spending hours laying on my bed with headphones on listening through Lagwagon, Bad Religion, and Dead Kennedys records. Yet out of all of these bands, none of them struck quite the chord that the Descendents did.
I love Star Wars. I have been watching since I was 5 years old. And like any upstanding, long time Star Wars fan I was upset about the newest round of changes to my favorite movies.
Then I went to dinner with my friend Jesse. We started talking about the release of Star Wars on Blu-ray and I mentioned that this would be the 5th version of the trilogy I have owned. Each time I have purchased it (save one - 2006 DVD) George Lucas has changed the films in some way.
It has gotten to the point where there is very little record of the original films. I’d bet that most people probably own either the 1997 VHS version or the 2004 DVD version. Neither of which contain the version I watched, on repeat, as a child. (the 2006 DVD release contains both the 2004 SE and the theatrical releases but it was never sold as a trilogy so it didn’t sell nearly as many copies)
In the midst of talking about versions and changes Jesse said something that totally blew my mind. “Lucas is this commercial director, who is inadvertently taking a hugely progressive and modern art take on these giant commercial movies. Star Wars is still in progress! It’s become modern art. It’s not about the movie anymore, the production is the art now.”
While this is an excellent post, I can’t help but disagree that Lucas should keep doing what he’s doing. It may be true that George Lucas is something of a “pioneer” in what he does with the Star Wars films, but I can’t help but be heartbroken by the constant adjustments he feels the need to make. I can relate to his obsessive compulsive perfectionism - when I’m recording and editing new songs, I can be a bit of a pill too. It’s hard to let go of a work of art.
Starring Sam Rockwell and directed by Duncan Jones (his first film), Moon - an independent British film released last year - is a dark, modern piece of science fiction that carries the torch of the brooding sci-fi epics of yesteryear such as ”Alien” and “2001: A Space Odyssey”. The claustrophobic setting, pacing, and minimal cast all lend to a surreal tension that pushes the movie towards its climactic finale.
Sam Bell (Rockwell) is a technician for fictional energy company LUNAR, who has all but solved Earth’s energy crisis by harvesting ‘helium-3’ energy from the sun to power the planet. Sam Bell manages the corporation’s lunar base and harvesters, keeping everything operating smoothly. His sole companion at the base is the AI robot ‘GERTY’, expertly voiced by Kevin Spacey. This immediately will draw flashbacks to “2001” but as the nature of the film doesn’t focus too intensely on the relationship between Bell and GERTY it’s not a negative. Bell has a 3-year contract with LUNAR, after which he is due to fly home to be reunited with his wife and child. Naturally, not all is as it seems and before long the film becomes something quite unexpected as it explores the nature of humanity, loneliness, and the personal passage time.
Sam Rockwell’s performance is magnificent and absolutely heartbreaking. I chose to watch this film on a whim, but it’s surprising the similarities that exist between Moon and Black Swan, which I recently reviewed. Both films were actually scored by Clint Mansell (another excellent job on Moon), and both films detail the physical and psychological deterioration of its protagonist. Yet in Moon, this deterioration feels much more personal and upsetting. Few people would be able to withstand three years on the moon, and fewer would be able to withstand the agony of what Sam Bell discovers through the course of the film about his own existence and the way his corporation, LUNAR, has abused him as a human and employee. Being set on the moon, the film is rooted in reality enough to not feel too outlandish, even as Sam makes these very strange discoveries.
"Moon" is a simultaneously unsettling and touching film. The plot unfolds in a very organic fashion that is neither too predictable nor too cliche. This genre is rarely visited in this day and age - the film harkens back not only to the films I referenced previously, but to the Bradbury-esque, introspective science fiction narratives of the mid 20th century that serve to not only excite our fantasies of the future and technology, but to deeply explore the effects and nature of the human condition. Highly recommended.
Last night I was invited by my friend to go see the new Darren Aronofsky film Black Swan at Lincoln Plaza Cinemas. The screen was small but the theater featured a robust sound system which sucked us in for the entirety of the 103 minute long film.
To put it fairly simply, this movie was fucking crazy. Natalie Portman’s career-defining performance coupled with Aronofsky’s vertigo-inducing, reality-bending direction results in one hell of a movie. Every single aspect of this film was at the top of its game, mirroring the film’s perfection-obsessed lead ballerina - from the claustrophobic cinematography to the absolute incredible music by Clint Mansell. The music lends into the feeling that Aronofsky’s objective was to make the film its own ballet, with twists and turns in the pacing and music matching those of the dancing on the screen. I would say that this is Aronofsky’s best, and most gut-wrenching direction since “Requiem For A Dream”.
Natalie Portman plays Nina Sayers, a sheltered ballerina driven by her stage mother, a former dancer herself (to anyone who has ever been involved in acting, music, or dance, this character is not unusual). It’s a new season for the New York City ballet company she dances with and they plan to put on a brazen new version of the classic “Swan Lake”. New ballerina arrival Lily (Mila Kunis), fresh from San Franciso begins to stir the pot, and a rivalry forms between Lily and Nina, fueled mostly by Nina’s insecurity and dementia. It’s not until the end of the film that everything is totally clear, and the revelation is both shocking and quite beautiful (even if you see it coming from a mile away).
My single irk with the film is the obvious dualism of the plot. While certain aspects keep you guessing, the parallels between the film itself and the “Swan Lake” ballet that the company is putting on feel rather melodramatic and heavy-handed at times. Even so, while metaphorical and psychological dualism is nothing new to cinema, it seems like Aronofsky is fully aware of this and as such focuses on enough neighboring details to keep the film fresh - not just in the dementia of the titular character, but rather the build-up of that psychosis, the overwhelming stress from an artist’s obsession with their art and the pressure of perfectionist performance. Especially when you have a psycho stage mom and you work with a bunch of bitchy ballerinas.
Needless to say, this film is not for the faint of heart. Not only is it the scariest movie ever made about ballet, it’s easily one of the most uncomfortable movies I’ve seen a while. Like a car crash, the psychological breakdown of any human being is a difficult thing to watch but it’s hard to turn away - and it’s portrayed in “Black Swan” as both heartbreaking and just plain gross. Who the hell cuts their fingernails with scissors, anyway? AGH. Nonetheless, this is a wonderful film, with phenomenal performances in every department and it is not to be missed.
This 2:29 long trailer took me about 10 minutes to watch cause I freeze-framed every 10 seconds. Unbelievable. I’m going to see Deathly Hallows tonight at midnight and I’m more excited to see this trailer in a theater than to actually see that movie.
Everything about this movie looks perfect so far. Ryan Reynolds IS Hal Jordan; Sinestro, Abin Sur, Tomar-Re, Kilowog all look incredible; and the scenes on Oa are beautiful. I cannot wait for this fucking movie. AHHH!
The only thing that’s bugging me is the lack of any sign of the Guardians. They’re so key to the Green Lantern Universe, I was really psyched to see what they look like. Oh well.
Giant Robot, with a Bird-like Head...he is my friend! (Cheese, Rennet, Aquabats!)
Figured I should start actually getting in the habit of updating this thing.
I’m currently attempting to go vegan with my girlfriend. It can be fairly painstaking at times, because I’ve always been a habitual consumer of dairy products (cheese & eggs primarily) but so far I’m managing well enough. Running about 90% vegan right now - still clearing out the kitchen of a few non-vegan products that we don’t want to go to waste. So far, it’s been a lot of hummus, tofu, rice, beans, and greens. Nom!
The other day I was on one of my "research something random on the internet exhaustively until your brain explodes" fits and it was on cheese for whatever reason. Actually, now that I think of it I was looking up the process for how cheese is made after having a conversation with a friend of mine. I told him that he should try “tapioca cheese” and he made this horrible, disgusted look on his face like I told him to go fuck his mother, and I realized that when I thought of vegan cheeses I used to make that face too. Being on the other side of the fence now, it struck me as rather odd that the idea of cheese made from tapioca - starch extracted from the root of a plant - could be considered so horrifying while cheese made from curdled milk pus suckled from the dirty teat of an animal is totally normal and not disgusting in any way. Just because we, as a culture, are used to “cheese” being a certain “thing”. I challenged him to tell me what cheese as a food concept really was, and all we could get was “it’s made from animal milk”. Why can’t cheese made from tapioca be considered cheese just as much as cheese made from dairy? What is cheese anyway?
I throw on my detective cap and before you know it I’m scrounging around my favorite website in the whole universe, Wikipedia. Now, amidst what I already knew - comes from cow, sheep, etc milk; aged and curdled - I didn’t understand what process the milk went through to actually coagulate into curdles. Well, OH MY FUCKING GOD, I could not be more horrified. It turns out that they start by acidifying the milk (lovely in and of itself…nothing like ‘sour’ milk) and then they add rennet. Hmm, that’s a funny word, I’ve never heard that before. Let’s see what the dictionary says:
“a substance obtained from the stomach linings of young calves which contains a coagulating enzyme”
AGH!! That’s right, your cheese is made with an enzyme (chymosin) that’s pulled out of the stomachs of freshly slaughtered baby cows. BLURCGH.
Okay, I get it, cheese is old. We came up with this stuff thousands of years ago - but shouldn’t we be asking ourselves at this point in our societal and cognitive development if it’s truly necessary any more? Now, not all cheese is made with calf rennet - The Vegetarian Society has an excellent article about how rennet is made and how to avoid it - but even so, major cheese manufacturers are very wishy-washy about the ingredient and it’s really hard to find out what kind of rennet (calf or bacterial) their cheese actually contains. It’s really upsetting to know that all Parmesan cheese is made with calf rennet, which means I technically haven’t been a vegetarian at all for the past 6+ months because that shit was in my fridge every week. Bleh. Yet after just a couple weeks of eating vegan cheese, I’m starting to forget what dairy-cheese even tasted like…kind of like when I stopped eating meat a while ago. It’s funny how the body and taste buds adjust, and that level of effectiveness only assures me that we have evolved to the point where we do not need to take advantage of animals for our sustenance any more.
Stepping down from my soapbox now. I get to see the Aquabats tonight at Irving Plaza yay! One of my favorite bands to see live, they have never disappointed me. Not sure how I feel about their new EP, but I really liked Charge!! and most of their releases, so it should still be skankalicious.
Welp, that’s all I’ve got for now. Eat well, watch out for that rennet. Ta-ta!
Here I am, spreading more of my organic, carbon-based self onto the glorious interwebs. From livejournal to myspace to facebook to twitter to tumblr.
Almost a year ago now, I moved back to New York City with those wide-eyed “big city dreams” every musician has when they move to the city. Stay creative and honest. Make money with my craft. Hit it big. Etc. Well, I haven’t done it yet but I’m trying to keep busy.
My primary project is Like I Was The Fire, or LIWTF. From our myspace you can read about us and check out a few songs - I play guitar and sing. We just released out self-produced and self-recorded debut EP, Don’t Call Me Sweetheart. It took a great deal of time in between all of our day jobs, but we’re proud of the product and hopefully you’ll enjoy it as well.
In other creative news, I’m currently working on the music for The Nomad Junkie’s new radio drama, “My Dying City”. It’s a very exciting piece about the gentrification of New York City, and I’m psyched to be doing the music for it. More on that to come in future updates.