Halos - “Hekla”
Run Run Run - ” Good Company”
Diane Birch - “Don’t Wait Up”
Nick Motil - ” One of These Days”
Jessie Deluxe - ”Bi Polar”
Rademacher - ”If U Got Some Magic”
Red Cortez - ”In the Fall”
Swim Party - ”Parliament of Rooks”
Right the Stars - ”You Know the Way”
Maxim Ludwig and the Santa Fe Seven - ” To be with Sweet Marie”
Random Comments. I saw the Halos and Run Run Run while at the Viper Room to hang out my friends, The Shakers. Let me say the floor of the Viper Room was shaking for both bands. I’ve obviously talked plenty about Diane Birch. I saw half of Swim Party’s set at Spaceland. I wish I could have stayed for the whole set, but it was getting late. Right the Stars played at Hotel Café. I thought they were just awesome. I have this agreement with a friend where we switch off in our picking of bands to check out. A recent selection of hers was Maxim Ludwig.
As we make our way into the preseason of Oscar-film-contention madness, we find a truly remarkable gem and possibly an early front-runner for the coveted Best Picture award in Quentin Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds. Whether Tarantino takes home the coveted eight and a half pound man next spring will remain to be seen, but what is clearly evident after moments into the film is that this is an entirely new, more sophisticated, grown-up (if you will) version of his signature cinematic style that has further solidified his indelible mark in celluloid history.
Inglourious Basterds is a soon-to-be classic war film that mystifies audiences with brilliant acting, writing, social commentary, and a rendering of history and war as only Tarantino himself could deliver. The film, set during the German occupation of France prior to the D-Day liberation offensive, immediately captures audiences with an immersing, atmospheric exposition that is spellbinding, exciting, and utterly enjoyable to watch. Gone is the kitsch appeal and slick, self-aware, impossibly-hip dialogue that Tarantino has trademarked with films like Reservoir Dogs, Pulp Fiction, and the Kill Bill movies. In fact, besides the opening title card that denotes the first “chapter” of the film, and his signature tromploi camera angles, one would hardly know he or she was watching one of his films.
Enter the villain–or more realistically the unexpected antihero of all antiheroes–S.S. Col. Hans Landa played brilliantly, enigmatically, and acutely by scene-stealing Austrian actor, Christoph Waltz (to say that his performance is inspired and divine is the grossest understatement of the year). Wasting no time at all, Tarantino thrusts the viewer into 1940’s, occupied France and masterfully introduces the two characters whose very different, albeit intertwining lives compel and unite the film’s distinctive and varied storylines (in true Tarantino tradition). Then, just as the viewer is comfortably locked into watching only a slightly-less reverent rendering of World War II Nazi imposition than say Schindler’s List or films of its ilk, Tarantino fires the first of many curveballs that sets his film apart from classic war film renderings.
A weathered and scarred Brad Pitt arrives on the scene with his miscreant band of spaghetti-western style vigilantes, the Basterds, who recall and pay homage to: the Steve McQueen (The Great Escape) and Lee Marvin (the Dirty Dozen) action/war films that set the bar for war-grunt banter and badass, almost super-human heroics in films of the genre; Shakespearean foils who offer comedic relief in bouts of absurd tragedy; and the classical, Greek choragus, who, with insights of wisdom, narration, or commentary would propel the story line. Throw in a few Tarantino stylistic non sequiturs, a couple of voiceover cameos from Tarantino regulars, Harvey Keitel and Samuel L. Jackson, a little (by his standards) gun play, and the viewer is instantly, yet seamlessly, transported into a new, but familiar kind of film. From the Basterds’ arrival onscreen, it is evident that while this film pulls from the pages of history, all bets are off; and the predictability factor is left to rot back in the first chapter, along with the reverence once given to the subject matter.
Banking on his own renown as a writer, director, and notoriously-eclectic pioneer of almost-indie filmmaking, Tarantino then skillfully weaves a new web in wartime film epics, subtly reminding the viewer that war makes every person it touches an inglourious basterd. He dutifully does so while delivering action, intrigue, and clever, sophisticated dialogue (in several languages) and characters. With no clear distinction between saints and sinners; friends and foes; heroes and villains, he discreetly poses questions of morality, loyalty, and retribution–all too familiar themes from Tarantino, but this time rendered more subliminally and more sublimely than ever before.
This film, with its international cast and multilingual script, is the voice of the current generation and its lackadaisically scathing view of war; an homage to the films and history that spoke to, admonished, or compelled/inspired generations before it; and an homage to the art of film itself, which has been, since its incarnation (and will continue to be) the social conscience of the inglourious basterds who make films…and of those who watch them.
Cut and Reel says: REEL
Our Featured Make-up Artist Candace Garcia shares some of her favorite beauty products with us.
TRAffIK: What are some of your favorite staple products that you use? Why?
Candace: Some of my favorite products are:
-Primer Photo Finish, by Smashbox - It helps smooth the skin and keep the makeup on smooth and it last all day! love it!!
-Mascara, Cover Girl Exact Lash. -Its not too thick and not too natural but it separates the lashes and it finishes to a natural finish!!
-Paints, MAC Cosmetics. -Paints are great to help keep eye shadow on. It sticks on and won’t crease!! Can’t put eye shadow on without it.
-Fix +, MAC Cosmetics. It’s such a great product. It helps set you’re makeup and hydrates the skin without making it look too greasy.
Now that Summer is officially over and done with (and to clarify we mean the season, not Eric) and Fall is upon us we have decided to take a look back at our summer (the good, the bad, and the ugly) and have asked some friends to do the same. We will see September off with some End of Summer interviews over the course of the next couple of weeks.
Kicking that series of interviews off is our Q&A with local band Robotanists. We first came across Robotanists in early 2008 and quickly became fans of their music and asked them to participate in our Childhood Observed: Toys for Tots Benefit (alongside Automatique, Automatic Music Explosion, Beatmo, Maggie Malyn, Voices Voices, The White and the Writing, and You Me and Iowa) that has yet to reach fruition but you can watch a teaser video of here. They spent a day with TRAffIK photographer Jessy Plume and video producer Byron Turk at the LA Zoo getting kicked off of Merry-go-Rounds and being embraced by the Pinwheel Palace. Check out their feature here.
Speaking of Jessy and Byron…
Our “Photographist” Jessy Plume managed to remain cooler than most of us will ever be, while managing to juggle a multitude of projects. We’ll soon be collaborating to bring you some more fun photos. Who knows what our Creative Pow-Wows will bring you. In the meantime please enjoy her photography of bands that participated in our Childhood Observed themed photo shoots that we’ll be bringing you in next couple of weeks. Also her photo of L.A. band Voices Voices for this same project is currently included in the latest issue of Filter Magazine.
Byron is currently in the swamp lands of Louisiana bonding with the ‘gators and all of the other inhabitants of these murky waters working on a top secret film project. The new season of his show Storm Chasers will air on Discovery Channel Oct.18. In the meantime you can read about their storm chasing adventures here.
I’ll bring you some of my Summer Adventures w/ Lady Di very soon. Maybe we can even convince Brandy (“BB” – pictured left with TRAffIK Stopper Heather Ellis) to share some of her own. We’ve got a lot of great fashion and style content as well as features lined up for you in coming weeks including one on Super-girl Espree Devora.
Last of all in the coming months you will see a few changes hit the TRAffIK site. We’ll be adding some fantastic new writers, new columns, and we have also been working on making the site a little easier to navigate. Stay tuned.
We hope you all had a great adventurous season of fun in the sun.
Siria and the TRAffIK Team
all photos by Jessy Plume for TRAffIK
The darlings of our Summer Soundtrack, Silverlake based Robotanists enjoyed a whirlwind season full of sunshine, radio airplay (KCRW), and lots of new friends. Two of the band members Sarah Ellquist and Daniel de Blanke have taken a few moments to bring you firsthand some of the highlights of their summer, as well as how they feel they’ve grown as a band. They even let you us in on what songs they wish they had written.
Daniel de Blanke – guitars, keys, songwriting
Sarah Ellquist – vocals, keys, songwriting
Preston Scott Phillips – percussion, drums, iphone
Keith Boyarsky – bass
TRAffIK: Where can we learn more about your band?
DANIEL: Google “robotanists” or go to http://robotanists.com
TRAffIK: How did you come together?
DANIEL: We were all in other bands, and then left those bands and formed this one. The social lubricant was alcohol and a fondness for screaming at the television. That, and Dostoevsky.
TRAffIK: How would you describe your sound?
DANIEL: Up-tempo sad music for amoral intellectuals
SARAH: Make-up sex
TRAffIK: How does the songwriting process work for you? Where does the inspiration come from?
SARAH: Dan and I are a song writing team, but every song is born in a different way, from a different place. I write all of the lyrics, but sometimes, I write the melody and Dan builds harmony from there, or vice versa. If either of us ever thinks that we’ve written a complete song, the other is there to edit and refine. We take everything to the rhythm section for the final seal of approval… and the rest is history. Lyrics come from a very personal place, but I try to craft them in a way that the listener can interpret as they choose. Music is a personal thing, I want listeners to make our music theirs.
DANIEL: I have three thousand song ideas that are half crafted at any given time. I generally force Sarah to listen to them until she starts singing melodic material.
TRAffIK: Lately you’ve been performing acoustically a lot more than we’d seen previously. Do you have a preference for either performing unplugged or plugged in?
SARAH: I think we all prefer the energy of playing as a full band, but performing with just an acoustic guitar is a great way to really showcase our songwriting. It’s liberating to strip things down and just let the melody and harmony dance with each other.
TRAffIK: What started this trend for you?
SARAH: I suppose you could say that most of our music starts out “acoustic” during the demo phase, but we started performing them that way after some friends of ours (the band Vanaprasta) asked us to come to the Bond St. Lounge at the Thompson Hotel in Beverly Hills over the summer and play a few songs. The next thing we knew we were getting weekly invites to perform all over LA. (more…)
Damn You, Hollywood. Again.
Cast your mind back a few weeks. The air was cleaner, the world made sense, and herds of adorable golden retriever puppies roamed the streets spreading good will. And a younger, fresher-faced Eric Summer wrote an internet column which happened to mention that he thought most people didn’t really like music all that much–that they regarded it as little more than background noise.
Well, the long weeks have passed, and I have spent my time in quiet contemplation as I’ve grown older, and I think I have it pinned down as to why people think of music as background noise. As is usually the case in these matters, I blame Hollywood.
This train of thought began, as most of my trains of thought do, with Star Wars. I was driving home from work one day and I heard John Williams’ Star Wars score on the radio. I was happy to hear it. I like Star Wars. A lot. And as I listened, I realized I remembered exactly where most of the dialogue from the movies fit with the score. It was uncanny. So I drove on home, quoting Star Wars happily to myself and thinking. And then it dawned on me, clear and bright as a summer cliché: this score is inextricably tied with the movie it belongs to. It is simply impossible to separate the two. Any merit it has as a piece of music is completely dependent upon the pictures that go with it.
Which is not to say that it’s ineffective; far from it. It is a wonderful movie score, filled with memorable themes and underlining the emotional context of each scene it supports. But it doesn’t work without the movie. (more…)