mahna mahna .net

Like many personal blogs of its era, this blog is moribund, a casualty of what we might call "the Facebook effect." However, as of late 2015, two things are clear: (1) The Indie Web is a thing, and (2) the re-decentralization of the web is a thing. So who knows? 2016 2017 (!) could be the year this blog rises from its own ashes. Stay tuned!

Thursday, 18 June 2009
Are there any of you out there? Folks who crave a challenging, somewhat traumatic, and ultimately immeasurably-rewarding reading experience? Let me recommend something on the highest possible terms: Infinite Summer is your chance to spend the summer reading David Foster Wallace’s Infinite Jest with online guidance and support sponsored by The Morning News and An Event Apart.

After Wallace’s death last fall, I pulled my copy of the Jest off the shelf. more...
posted to /art/books at 12:14pm :: 0 responses
Tuesday, 09 October 2007
rainbowIt’s a rainy fall night here in Oakland, but it’s morning in the U.K., where Radiohead’s e-mail bot has sprung into action and delivered to me a link to the new album, In Rainbows, which is causing music executives around the world to cut themselves with knives.

For about a year, I’ve been enjoying recordings from the band’s summer 2006 tour (including the Berkeley show I attended), across which most of the material on this new album is performed several times. There’s this lovely collection of songs I only know by their live versions, because that’s all there’s been, and now, I get the studio takes. Luscious, I just betcha.

I’ll know soon enough. But right now, I’m hating my pokey DSL line. more...
posted to /art/music at 11:09pm :: 0 responses
Friday, 06 April 2007
It’s a fantastic sort of Friday: one where there’s a new Nine Inch Nails album to listen to all day long. Enjoy Year Zero, officially streaming on the World Wide Web in anticipation of its April 17 release.

(Yes, Virginia, it is possible to capture the files retrieved and played by that Flash app, and also possible to convert them to a useful format such as MP3…)
posted to /art/music at 10:06am :: 0 responses
Friday, 09 March 2007
Inland EmpireDavid Lynch insists that his new film, INLAND EMPIRE, is simply about “a woman in touble.” I’ll say. It’s hard to describe what Laura Dern’s character goes through over the course of this fantastic and initially grueling three-hour experience, but none of it is anything you ever want to experience yourself, that’s for sure. It’s like imagining yourself living the life of Henry, the doomed protagonist of Lynch’s first feature, Eraserhead. You shudder at the thought. more...
posted to /art/cinema at 1:09pm :: 1 response
Friday, 05 January 2007
From my inbox:
Richie Unterberger will be presenting and discussing two hours of rare Beatles audio clips, as well as showing a few rare Beatles film clips and discussing and signing his book The Unreleased Beatles: Music and Film, on Wednesday, January 17, from 7:00-9:00pm at the Park Branch of the San Francisco Public Library at 1833 Page Street in San Francisco.
I received a copy of the book as an early birthday gift; it is magnificent. I also attended a similar presentation by Richie last month at the main library in Alameda; it was fantastic.
posted to /art/music at 11:05am :: 0 responses
Sunday, 26 November 2006
This is the time of year for rainy Sunday afternoons at matinees, so today I took in The Fountain. I have been waiting for this film for quite some time. The writer-director is Darren Aronofsky, who previously brought us Pi and Requiem For a Dream. The former is completely bizarre and unsettling, the latter about as harsh and brutal and nightmarish a time as I’ve ever had at the movies. But both proved that Aronofsky is the real deal. He can write, and he can shoot. The Fountain proves that like any artist, Aronofsky can also aim very high, and misfire.

The story we’re told spans a thousand years. Five hundred years ago, Hugh Jackman is Spanish conquistador Tomas, and Rachel Weisz his Queen Isabella. She sends him off to New Spain in search of the Fountain of Youth. After much toil and bloodletting, atop a Mayan pyramid he instead finds … a tree. And dies. more...
posted to /art/cinema at 11:26pm :: 2 responses
Friday, 10 November 2006
After — only after — you see Borat: Cultural Learnings of America For Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan, go read Salon’s fantastic account of what’s real and what’s staged in the film.
posted to /art/cinema at 11:10am :: 0 responses
Sunday, 05 November 2006
If you haven’t yet been exposed to Sacha Baron Cohen, the comedic dynamo behind Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan, it’s either because you don’t have HBO (where his material airs here in the States), or you don’t know anyone British who foisted upon you years ago (before Cohen was known in the States at all) a third-generation VHS copy of several BBC productions by one Ali G, one of Cohen’s characters. (I’m in that latter category, myself.) Ali G is a wannabe-gangsta who somehow cons “important people” into interviews; he positions himself as a means for Power to speak to Youth, but instead repeatedly serves as a means for Power to display its own ludicrous shortcomings. (I love the clip of Ali G “interviewing” professional curmudgeon Andy Rooney. In three minutes, Cohen proves Rooney isn’t just a curmudgeon, but a genuine asshole.) “Da Ali G Show” has done quite well on HBO, and has been Cohen’s entry vehicle in this hemisphere, his previous film (Ali G Indahouse) having been mostly ignored here. more...
posted to /art/cinema at 10:05pm :: 0 responses
Monday, 26 September 2005
According to the St. Petersburg Times, the lyrics Jim Morrison wrote for The Doors’ first three albums were largely about his ex, one Mary Werbelow, who has never spoken to the press. Until now.

Morrison has always struck me as one of the twentieth century’s great poets in pain*. I’ve never listened to the three albums in question — I’ve just got the ubiquitous two-disc “Best of the Doors” compilation — but I’ve been on quite a classic rock kick lately, so perhaps it’s time to finally explore them.

[*A memory: An enchanting and sylphlike girl named Selby introduced me to the phrase “poet in pain” back in college. She described me with those words before adding heaps more pain to the load I already carried at the time. She then danced, awkwardly, out of my life forever. I very likely listened to some of The Doors’ darker stuff while I was lamenting her exit.]
posted to /art/music at 4:26pm :: 2 responses
Friday, 15 July 2005
A coupla weeks back, the new SFGate CultureBlog had a little writeup on a book called PRONOIA Is the Antidote for Paranoia: How the Whole World Is Conspiring to Shower You with Blessings. They offered a snippet that got me intrigued. A sample:
Thousands of things go right for you every day, beginning the moment you wake up. Through some magic you don’t fully understand, you’re still breathing and your heart is beating, even though you’ve been unconscious for many hours. The air is a mix of gases that’s just right for your body’s needs, as it was before you fell asleep. more...
posted to /art/books at 1:15pm :: 0 responses
Monday, 16 May 2005
The important reviews are in. Roger Ebert gives Revenge of the Sith three and a half stars, and his review contains this non-spoiler gem:
Because the story leads up to where the original “Star Wars” began, we get to use the immemorial movie phrase, “This is where we came in.”
Over in the New York Times, A.O. Scott also has praise for the film, including some interesting notes on the political message (!) it carries. And lastly, in the New Yorker, Anthony Lane does his typical routine of trying to impress you with a snarky and somewhat mean-spirited dismissal of the film. (Lane’s work is and has long been that of a complete ass, and the only thing that saves film criticism in the New Yorker these days is that Lane shares his duties with David Denby, who actually writes intelligent, non-spoiler reviews that are often a joy to read.)

Me, I’m a bit embarrassed to admit I have tickets to the midnight showing of Sith when it opens this Thursday. I’ve never done a midnight premiere before, but this is the last Star Wars film ever (or perhaps not, as Ebert notes), and it seems clear that the mistakes of The Phantom Menace and Attack of the Clones — both of which I hated — have been left behind. Color me “very excited.”
posted to /art/cinema at 12:16pm :: 0 responses
Thursday, 17 March 2005
Unbelievably, the Wall Street Journal tackles this topic.
“It was never meant to be yelled at a cool concert — it was meant to be yelled at someone really lame,” he says. “If you’re going to yell ‘Freebird,’ yell ‘Freebird’ at a Jim Nabors concert.”
[spotted at The Morning News]
posted to /art/music at 10:17am :: 0 responses
Tuesday, 15 February 2005
Earlier today, the_lucky_duck asked me a hypothetical question which I shall rephrase thusly:
The Gestapo is enforcing a new rule: Everyone gets to own five (and only five) books, and those five are the only books you ever get to crack open again. (Book sharing will be punishable by death or something. I dunno. Just play along, okay?) So, which five books do you want to have with you for the rest of your days?
A ridiculous question, and one that’s perfect to answer on a blog and solicit additional answers to in the comments. My five (at this point in time, anyway):
Finnegans Wake
The Sound and the Fury
The Mezzanine
Stranger In a Strange Land
The Power of Now
Your turn!
posted to /art/books at 4:15pm :: 6 responses
Friday, 08 October 2004
John Lennon might have turned 64 years old tomorrow had he not been gunned down in 1980. A new exhibition of his paintings to mark the occassion makes me wish I were in New York. Luckily, the Guardian has some of the images up on the Web.

[spotted at the J-Walk Blog]
posted to /art at 3:08pm :: 3 responses
Wednesday, 25 August 2004
It has taken me a few days to decide exactly what it is I have to say about Before Sunrise and Before Sunset, a pair of films by Richard Linklater that absolutely blew my mind this past weekend and immediately landed on my “all-time favorites” list.

Before Sunrise was made in 1995, and may be the best date movie of all time. Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy star as Jesse and Celine, two beautiful early-twentysomethings who meet on a European train. Jesse is headed to Vienna; Celine is traveling onward to Paris, where she is a student. But Jesse persuades Celine to disembark in Vienna and while the night away with him before he catches a morning flight home to the States. They kill time mostly by wandering around the city, talking. And falling in love. more...
posted to /art/cinema at 5:25pm :: 4 responses
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