Monday, February 09, 2004

Don Brash - contortionist.
He managed to put not one, but both feet in his mouth over the weekend.... check the following quotes....

...Dr Brash, who was part of Dame Silvia's official party at Government House, said his reference to the "one people" term was not about making New Zealand a homogeneous nation. "I'm very comfortable with different cultures. Clearly. I've got a Chinese wife."

"Many employers faced with the choice of hiring a Maori or non-Maori of equal qualifications, equal merit, might very well choose the non-Maori, because of the risk that the Maori might be away for a significant chunk of time".
Is he talking about Maori tangi's? Their funerals only last three days. Or maybe its to do with Maori life expectancy being ten years less than Pakeha, they all drop off a bit sooner. Or maybe he is referring to low income Maori who can't afford decent health care, so they just get sick and stay home. What planet is this fool on?
He says the issue is that the Government should be dealing with all NZers on the basis of need, not race. At the low income end of the spectrum, 22 % of Pakeha students leaver school with no qualifications; 35% of Maori in the same group. The Sunday Star Times came up with a bunch more statistics like this one; for example, race-based funding in health - those programmes specifically targeted for Maori - amount to about 2% of the health budget. Maori make up 15.4 per cent of the population. More here.

Wonder if Don took the Chinese wife to the Lantern Festival?

Thursday, February 05, 2004

Whipped Cream and other delights.
This week's Listener has some great stories by Steve Braunias on LP cover art, from local fella Jack Thompson, who put out 1 LP a year for about 20 years thru EMI (they've just reissued a few of them), and England's Mrs Mills. Unfortunately the Listeners website deprives you of these glorious covers, so you'll just have to buy a copy. Braunias notes that the reissue cd covers "are bland; and in any case, a mere CD could never do justice to the original Thompson LP sleeves. This is a man who needed the big picture, a big canvas, to work his unholy art."

I remember once seeing a copy of an album by Mrs Mills that was a copy of the cover of Herb Alperts Whipped Cream and other delights, which featured a curvy young woman by the name of Delores Erickson naked, and covered head to toe in cream, which was pretty saucy back in 1965. Now, Mrs Mills was a rather solid English lass, so I really want to find this record! (Extensive Googling produced nothing.)
There was a number of other parodies of this cover; this site has a few of them linked if you scroll down the page.

The cover model for Alperts cover was interviewed by the Seattle Times in 2000 (link here - requires registration).

"The only whipped cream was on my head," Erickson recalls. "The rest was shaving cream on cotton. And the shaving cream kept slipping."
She was also three months pregnant.
Photographers routinely give models rejected prints for their portfolios. When Woorf sent the copies, Erickson was shocked at how much the slipped shaving cream revealed.
"I called a girlfriend and took them to her house. We hid them behind her refrigerator because I didn't want my husband to see them," she said. "I still have them, and now they look tame."
There's an alternate shot from the cover shoot here. Dolores also garners a mention at
Reading the messages posted by various American record collectors, it seems that you will find a copy of this record in absolutely every thrift shop and flea market in the States (quote: "there isn't a charity store in the world that doesn't have at least two copies of this"), much like every junk shop in NZ will have a copy of the soundtrack to South Pacific. One fellow asks if anyone can help him collect multiple copies of it, as he is covering an entire wall in his house with it! Ah, wacky Americans.
Mary Tyler Moore also featured on a number of LP covers - take a look here. For more ridiculous covers, check Franks Vinyl Museum, including Muhammad Ali vs Mr Tooth Decay.

One of my local favorites in wacky cover art is Howard Morrison Quartets album Potpourri, that features Howie and the lads wearing chefs hats and throwing veges and pots round a bright orange studio set. (scroll down to see it). Got any local gems I should look out for?

Wednesday, February 04, 2004

The pun never ends
Heres a few Janet Jackson headlines...

The boob tube
A little show and no tell
Breasts of Mass Destruction?
'Breast Bowl' outrage is just tempest in a D cup
Janet wins titillation booby prize
Bush sleeps through Janet's 'boob show'
Any boob is good news
The Breast and the Brightest
Boobgate Broohaha Builds
MTV not a bust for Viacom
Tit for tat
'Right Breast Stole My Thunder' Says Super Bowl Streaker

Hey is Janet's breast a weapon of mass distraction?

Tuesday, February 03, 2004

Get your freak off.
Janet Jackson succumbed to a "wardrobe malfunction" according to Justin Timberlake ("I'm sorry if anyone was offended... It wasn't intentional and is regrettable"), who 'accidentally' ripped off part of her top during the Superbowl halftime show on Sunday, exposing her breast. He was singing a duet with Ms Jackson; Rock Your Body, the song in question, ends with the line, 'Cause I gotta have you naked by the end of this song.' Surprised?
So, MTV claims it was an accident, so does Timberlake, CBS apologises, the NFL are very disappointed, and you still think it was unplanned? Look at the Heralds photo; Jackson is wearing some kind of silver nipple ring over her nipple. So, she wears that all the time? I don't think so. Check this photo sequence. Why has no one in the media discussed this nipple ring? There is a story there, probably too kinky for mainstream media. Someone will pick it up.
The Drudge Report claims CBS execs knew about the stunt beforehand. Check the pic of that pierced nipple. Yep. It was staged. Still, Janet did a great job of taking the media spotlight of her wayward brother, Michael.
And there was a streaker. He had the name of a gambling website written on his chest. This foolish Englishman was levelled by a New England linebacker. Naked Pom vs heavily padded athlete.

Shame it detracted from a great game; predictions before were it was going to be the dullest Superbowl ever. There was no points on the board til the end of the second quarter, the longest a game has gone without points in Superbowl's history.
The third quarter was scoreless, then the fourth quarter it all happened. The lead swapped twice, then the Carolina Panthers tied the score with 68 seconds to go, at 29 all. Four seconds from full time the New England Patriots kicked a field goal, and won 32 - 29. Adam Vinatieri kicked the winning goal; he did the same stunt two years ago in the Superbowl. He's Evel Knievel's cousin. I don't fully understand Gridiron, but the BBC have a useful primer on it here. The Beeb compared Vinatieri's last minute kick to Johnny Wilkinsons performance in the Rugby World Cup final, noting that Wilkinson "has confessed that he finds the possibility of an eventual move to the NFL appealing" something to do with a $US2-3 million salary?

UPDATE: MTV (affiliated to CBS thru Viacom) promised 'Janet's shocking moments' before the game. MTV has wiped the page from its site - see googles cache for the page. Drudge says that Janet now claims that the nudity was deliberate, saying that Timberlake was supposed to rip away only the top layer and leave a bit of red lace behind... Mr and Ms Stupid dancing like fools....

Brash, or just plain foolish?
Don Brash continues to divide his own party, telling National's only Maori MP Georgina te Heuheu to toe the party line after his dubious speech, which he now claims is National party policy - Te Heuheu dryly observing on TV3News last night that if it was indeed party policy, it was sorely lacking. Today she's been stripped of her Maori Affairs portfolio, and been replaced by a honkie, Gerry Brownlee. While this might seem ridiculous, if National ends up in power and follows thru on Brash's contrversial speech, they will abolish Maori Affairs, hence appointing a honkie won't look so silly - his post won't exist, under a Brash-led Government. And the only reason Brash got away with the speech playing the race card is that Winston Peters, who usually has that bag sewn up, was otherwise engaged in dodging free dinner allegations.

Friday, January 30, 2004

Get on a good foot
James Brown has been arrested for domestic violence - check out the police mugshot. Scary. He was release without bail. He is due to play some shows down this way in April, over in Australia. If he's not in jail.

Wednesday, January 28, 2004

I can see the music...
On my lunchbreak I stood in Whitcoulls and read the interview with Shayne Carter in the new Rip It Up magazine. True to form, he was his usual guarded self, as is the wont of someone with a healthy distrust of the media. However, Shaynes's discovered the joys of blogging - check his guest spot at Public Address. Its also a nifty piece of promotion for his forthcoming Dimmer album (go the cross-marketing!), and a much more interesting read than the numerous press interviews that Carter no doubt endured/will endure on the promotional rounds.

Some of my workmates eat McDonalds for breakfast, and Wendys for lunch. Its truly appalling; how can they do that to their stomachs? Basically, I think that if you eat shit, you feel like shit. Simple food logic.
Now someone has taken this to its logical extreme: Morgan Spurlock has made a film called Super Size Me: A Film of Epic Portions. Its the talk of the Sundance Film Festival. He ate McDonalds for a month, at every meal. He gained 12kg.

"Neither Spurlock, 33, nor the three doctors who agreed to monitor his health during the experiment were prepared for the degree of ruin it would wreak on his body. Within days, he was vomiting up his burgers and battling with headaches and depression. And his sex drive vanished.
When Spurlock had finished, his liver, overwhelmed by saturated fats, had virtually turned to pate. "The liver test was the most shocking thing," said Dr Daryl Isaacs, who joined the team to watch over him. "It became very, very abnormal."
McDonald's has finally been forced to comment. "Consumers can achieve balance in their daily dining decisions by choosing from our array of quality offerings and range of portion sizes to meet their taste and nutrition goals," it said in a statement last week."
In an inteview with Newsweek, Spurlock describes how he felt at end of the month...
[Laughs] I felt terrible! I felt so bad because I put on this weight so quickly my knees hurt. I was so depressed. I would eat and I would feel so good because I would get all that sugar and caffeine and fat and I would feel great. And an hour later I would just crash—I would hit the wall and be angry and depressed and upset. I was a disaster to live with. My girlfriend by the end was like “you have to stop because I’ve had it.” [She's a vegan].

While the rest of NZ gets caught up in endless pre-Oscar hype, there's a Kiwi getting mention at Sundance....

"No documentary was more timely or disturbing than "Persons of Interest." Filmmakers Alison Maclean and Tobias Perse conducted a series of interviews with Arab and Muslim immigrants who were swept up in the post-9/11 hysteria and imprisoned, often with no charges filed against them and no legal recourse. The film has an elegant, almost formal, simplicity; all the interviews are conducted in a bare room suggestive of a jail cell. The 12 stories we hear illustrate all too clearly the human cost of a Justice Department that has abandoned fundamental human rights in its indiscriminate campaign against terrorism. But the film never raises its voice to propagandize. It doesn't need to."

Friday, January 23, 2004

Choke on your biscotti
Starbucks coffee terminology examined. Why tall equals small.

GW Bush said in his State of the Union speech that "hundreds of thousands of American servicemen and women are deployed across the world in the war on terror. By bringing hope to the oppressed, and delivering justice to the violent, they are making America more secure..." And yet Lyle Lovett is too scared to leave the US and play here, just like US author E Annie Proulx, who delayed her visit here til after the Iraq War. Feel secure?
Russell Brown noted that "After Bush's State of the Union speech last year, a couple of correspondents ticked me off for being churlish about the billions promised to fight Aids in Africa. Well, a year later, not a penny of those billions has been allocated - and 2005 Aids funding has been cut."

Its a great weekend for getting out and checking some local sounds, Dancing in the Streets up on Beresford Square in K Rd friday night, and BFMs Summer Series in Albert Park on sunday. Summer in AK is looking mighty fine right now.

Thursday, January 22, 2004

Love is the drug.
"Always follow your own way rather than look to others. And get very good lawyers - if you can have them as part of your family that's even better."
Singer Bryan Ferry (playing here late January) offers up some practical advice to musicians starting out.

Monday, January 19, 2004

Belinda Henley makes stuff up.
TV3 gets thumbs up for its Big Day Out coverage, putting it near the top of its friday night news bulletin, with a live cross to the event with TV3s entertainment reporter Belinda Henley live at the BDO. She introduced her prerecorded report, which included the Black Eyed Peas, who, according to Henley, had been here twice before, but this was their first time at the Big Day Out. WRONG!! If she'd done her research, or read the numerous interviews in magazines or newspapers with the band in recent weeks, she would know they played here at the Big Day Out 3 years ago, with some controversy - one of their members got stopped at Customs and sent home after being found in possession of some dope. Thumbs down.
TVOne managed a live cross as well, with some amusing comments from their reporter on interviewing Metallica - she was surprised at their backstage area - a room for guitar tuning, a room for dressing, a room for eating, but when you've sold 90 million records, you can get whatever you want, she observed.

Apparently The Darkness are getting so popular in the UK that there are tribute bands dedicated to them. Three of them so far - The Lightness, The Daftness, and Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Darkness. As reported in the latest issue of Q magazine. Honest.

Friday, January 16, 2004

Torque talk
Former Kiwi actor Martin Henderson (Shortland St) has hit the big time in the US with new action movie Torque, costarring with Ice Cube. The film is in the same vein as The Fast And The Furious, and Gone in 60 Seconds, lots of fast car/bike chases that might give young Kiwi teenage drivers the impression you can outrun the police (even if the high number of deaths from police chases here suggests otherwise).
Here's a few of the headlines from Googles news page whcih give you some indication of its critical reception so far...

High energy, not high-minded
Torque' torture to watch
Formula Wan racing: 'Torque' hits skid woe
'Torque': It's fast and furious, but it's not very good

Men and the Art of Motorcycle Madness (Henry James, Too)
New York Times - The monotonously macho action-adventure "Torque," which opens nationwide today, wears testosterone as if it were a new fragrance from Mennen.

Torque' torture to watch
"...The script sounds like it was culled from the mind of a teen-age boy daydreaming during algebra class about what his ultimate adventure would be and the special effects look as if that same boy threw the many chase sequences together on his home PC.
Yes, it's that bad."


Here's how Henderson got the job, from an interview with director Joseph Kahn...

Q.How did you choose Martin Henderson as the lead?
A.I went through 100s of actors, because, you know, Ice Cube was expensive, so we were looking through 100s of actors, and one of the criteria that I had was that my actor should be American because I always saw this as a western on bikes, and Ford’s kind your classic American hero, but raw... So, literally, Martin was like the last guy I looked at, and we were only weeks away from shooting, and I had a phone call with him and I heard this California dude on the other line, and he was like, I think this, it’s not going to be too serious, it’s just going to be funny. Then I met him and we had an audition which was great and I hired him and then he busted out this New Zealand accent, and I said, “You fooled me, you f*cker.”
Brawling for Columbine
Now why didn't Michael Moore interview this nice young man in his film?

Evan Todd, a popular football player and school hero [at Columbine], told reporters: "Columbine is a clean, good place except for those rejects. Most kids didn't want them there. They were into witchcraft. They were into voodoo dolls. Sure, we teased them. But what do you expect if you come to school with weird hairdos? It's not just jocks; the whole school was disgusted with them. They're a bunch of homos, grabbing each other's private parts. If you want to get rid of someone, usually you tease 'em. So the whole school would call them homos, and when they did something sick, we'd tell them, 'You're sick and that's wrong.'" Read more here.

Thursday, January 15, 2004

Religion 1: Equality 0
"About 100 Iraqi women led by a minister protested in central Baghdad against a Governing Council proposal to scrap the secular family affairs code and place it under Muslim religious jurisdiction.
"I am outraged how the decision was taken," public works minister Nesrine al-Barwari told AFP." From Yahoo News. Tuesday 13 January.

There are suggestions from the Kurds to split from Iraq, and some are talking about dividing Iraq into 3 separate states, some into 5. Meanwhile, there are reports of increased sucides amongst US troops in Iraq. A recent Herald article noted that unlike previous campaigns where only the frontline troops were in direct fire and those in support roles were less vulnerable, in Iraq everyone with the US military is vulnerable. Things in Iraq must surely start getting better soon - they can't get much worse.

Monday, January 12, 2004

Blasphemy, and nine minutes and 33 seconds of names.
Leto writes that "Return of the King was crap. There. I’ve said it. I may, quite possibly, be thrown out of the country tomorrow for daring to utter such blasphemy..." Brave, very brave...

Yes, the hype around LOTR:ROTK goes on,with more awards heading Peter Jackson's way. Now, if you were watching the film overseas, knew nothing about its origins and hadn't read any interviews with cast or director, would you know it was from New Zealand?
Yes, but you would have to stay til the end of the closing credits, to see the caption "Filmed at Camperdown Studios and on location in New Zealand". I'm growing a bit skeptical about the supposed value to our country of the whole LOTR series. Do you recall anyone claiming similar tourist spinoffs when Xena and Hercules were shooting here?
Below is the story of one man who did stay the whole nine minutes and 33 seconds to the bitter end - he was the only person left in the cinema. He just wanted to get his money's worth.

(Taken from the New York Times - I'd link to it, but you have to register to get the content and its a hassle etc etc.... Just seen the Telegraph in the UK has also covered this story, basically an uncredited reworking of whats below)

Who Was That Food Stylist? Film Credits Roll On

They are known as closing credits, but the other day at a movie theater in Times Square, after three and a half epic hours of "The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King," the credits did not seem to want to close.

It took five minutes for the names of all the actors, producers, editors, gaffers, grips, best boys, dialect coaches, wig makers and steelworkers to crawl by. Next came the less familiar show-business occupations like stable foreman, horse makeup artist, horseshoer and the two guys in charge of the chain mail.

At eight minutes, the moviegoers still in the theater were watching a scroll of completely inscrutable titles like "wrangler manager" and "compositing inferno artist." Of course, the caterer had to be immortalized, too.

Finally, 9 minutes and 33 seconds after they began, the closing credits came to a close.

John Rodriguez, a subway track worker, was the only person left in the theater. (The cleaning crew had come and gone.) He shrugged.

"I like to get my $10 worth," he said. "I didn't really notice how long they were."

But plenty of people have. Movie credits, which used to last an average of three to four minutes, have joined the list of other things in Hollywood — like egos and salaries — suffering from inflation. Once, moviemakers considered anything longer than seven minutes — the credits for "Titanic" and "Waterworld" were in that range — to be pushing the bounds of propriety and audience patience.

But with the growth of computer animation, union rules, copyright laws and lots of good old-fashioned favoritism, several credit sequences have blown past that old limit.

Companies that make titles say the average, even for regular dialogue-driven movies, has increased to as long as five minutes.

"It just seems to me that there are a lot more menial guys who get credit now who didn't several years ago," said Rick Sparr, a vice president at Pacific Title and Art Studio, one of the oldest title-makers.

"I mean, the guy who unfolds the craft table gets credit now," he said. "It's really out of control."

Not that he is complaining. It is good for business. But he and others in the business have joined many moviegoers in wondering where it will end.

Does the set masseuse really need to be credited? (One was at the end of "The Matrix.")

Does the helicopter pilot? (Most big-budget productions nowadays seem to have one, and the pilot is invariably named, alongside accountants and publicity agents.)

What about the Romanian Army liaison aide and the person described as the food stylist? (Both were named at the end of "Cold Mountain.")

In fact, while questions are being asked, here are two more. Is there a difference between the second second assistant director and the third assistant director, and do all these assistants really have to be named? (The answers to those questions, producers say, are "not much" and "yes.")

"I think it's monstrous," David Thomson, the critic, said. "It's one of those signs of the decadence in our film business altogether."

Mr. Thomson, author of the New Biographical Dictionary of Film, said he still kept his seat until the bitter end, when the house lights come up and most everyone has left, "but only for professional reasons."

"I find it a horrible bore," he said. "Honestly, if you train the horses, you don't need your name up there."

In the early history of motion pictures, credits were nearly always at the beginning of movies and were handed out so sparingly that they rarely took more than two minutes of screen time.

The 1922 vampire classic "Nosferatu," a kind of special-effects vehicle of its day, credited only 11 cast members and 5 others, including the director and cinematographer, and the credits lasted 1 minute 35 seconds.

But by the late 1960's and early 70's, credits had grown so long that filmmakers began to shift most of them to the end of movies, giving them the freedom to grow even longer, especially with the rise of blockbuster movies with special effects and computer-generated imagery.

According to Baseline, which compiles information about movies, the original "Star Wars" in 1977 listed 143 people in its credits. In 1999, "The Matrix" listed 551, including Longy Nguyin, a sports masseuse. Last year, "The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers" listed 559 names, "Finding Nemo" listed 642, and the third installment of the "Matrix" series had 701.

In the world of animation, as just one example to show how the complexity of newer movies involves many more people, "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" in 1937, the first full-length animated feature movie, listed only 24 animators. The credits for "Finding Nemo" list 52 animators, plus 104 computer-graphics-imagery artists, divided into teams for jobs like "sharks," "reefs," "schooling and flocking" and "ocean."

But "credit creep," as some people in Hollywood have called it, is happening even in movies without multinational teams of computer programmers. In independent film shorts, for example, where many people work without being paid and a screen credit is their only form of compensation, credits can sometimes last a fourth as long as the short itself. In some movies with limited budgets, travel agencies and other companies are sometimes given credit — in essence free advertising in a prestigious format — if they agree to work for less.

And in big-budget movies with powerful stars, the stars often succeed in winning screen credit for anyone who has anything to do with their performances. In "Master and Commander," the list of attendants to Russell Crowe alone reads like the staff list at a small company: his costumer, two hairstylists, a makeup artist, two special makeup artists, a stunt double, a stand-in, a trainer, a dialect coach, a swordmaster, three violin coaches, two assistants and the name of the company that provided his personal security.

The final cut when it comes to credits can be highly arbitrary, especially for extras and performers with little screen time. Consider poor Ted Shred, a stuntman who specializes in fire breathing. Mr. Shred has, in fact, breathed fire on screen in six feature-length movies, including the hit "Charlie's Angels," but has never been credited for doing it.

"I guess the producers sit around and they say: `Well, who can we bump? Oh, let's bump the fire-breather,' " he said. "I don't know why it happens. It's nepotism, man."

Some major studios, like Warner Brothers, are known for working to keep credit creep from occurring. But battles are sometimes fought among studios and producers and directors over which marginal names (in other words, which sons, daughters, cousins, friends, neighbors and business partners) make the cut. In one recent major movie, more than 100 names were cut from the credit list at the last minute by the studio, which felt the credits went on way too long, according to a person involved in the movie, who asked that it not be named.

Mr. Sparr, whose Pacific Title creates the credits for more than 100 movies a year, said he believed that those for "The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King," which his company produced, lasted longer than any others he has ever worked on.

"And you can only run it so fast," he said, "because if you run it too fast, it's going to start to strobe."

Mr. Sparr said that in the end he thought inflation of closing credits would be checked only by purely physical limits. When 35-millimeter prints begin to require an extra reel just to accommodate the credits, the cost will probably drive some studios to declare an ultimatum.

"I really don't think it's going to go past 10 minutes," he said. "But I've been wrong before."

Since he has been in the movie business for so long, one last question was asked of him. Does he know what a second second assistant director does?

"It really doesn't matter to us," Mr. Sparr answered. "If it comes from legal and it's the way they want it, that's all we care about. We don't care what it means."

The closing credits for School of Rock, starring Jack Black are great -when I saw it, hardly anyone left the cinema before they finished - Black and his band of schoolkids make up a song on the spot while the credits roll, with Black adlibbing about "hey whose that guy, what did he do on the movie? uh oh, we gotta go, here come the cleaners..." The film is pretty entertaining too, in a candyfloss kinda way.