Day 331: Conan’s Super German Laser Light Show

While the writers are still on strike late night hosts are trying their best to start up their shows again without writers–with varying success. Leno is pretty lame, Letterman is talented enough to pull it off half-way decently, Jimmy Kimmel actually periodically inserts re-runs of old segments in order to provide his currently unemployed writers with royalty payments, and Conan, well Conan is pretty much back to his anarchic self that initially made him famous–great to see, in fact. Refusing to shave until the strike is settled and his writers get a fair contract, Conan refuses to put on his regular skits (the ones usually written by his staff) and instead pretty much builds his current shows on completely random ideas (such as wasting time by talking about how he needs to waste time in the absence of writers) that are actually hilariously funny (well, he makes them funny). Here my favorite example: the super German laser light show Conan introduced last night and seems to want to keep in his repertoire. Tonight’s installment is not yet on youtube, hence here last night’s episode:

P.S.: just in case anyone has not heard: the Golden Globes were cancelled due to the strike–nice. If only we could now make other strikes and situations of exploitation as popular and widely supported as this one…

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Day 219: Madness and Dissertation

This whole writing thing may be getting the better of me. I haven’t really slept in a few days (just got up after three hours of quite troubled sleep), I have only eaten crap (bars, coffee, LOTS of pizza by the slice from around the corner and that’s pretty much it–I can really feel my body begin to shut down) and I am still desperately trying to catch up with my insane workload. I am also beginning to feel that I am going crazy, which is a phenomenon that, in respect to writing, does not truly fill me with large amounts of jouissance, since being in the process of completing a work similar to that of famous Judge Schreber is not what I initially intended to do (see Memoirs of my Nervous Illness and Freud’s and Deleuze’s treatment thereof). I have also felt guilty for not posting but seeing as I am still lacking the time to put any thought into a post I will just provide you with an example of the effect of my beginning insanity on my writing.

Here the title of a subchapter and its accompanying footnote:

2. The End (of the Center) is Near or, not a parvenu, not yet pariah[1]


[1] To the tune of Britney Spears’ “I’m Not a Girl, Not Yet a Woman.”

Day 214: Frost, Death Proof and BJs

Still: writing day. Still: minimalist. Hence, two short public service announcements:

I have been getting lots of traffic from people who want to know what the poem in Death Proof  (second, Tarantino-directed, part of Grindhouse) is. First: have you never taken a literature class? It is one of the most recognizable poems in US literature! And, as all other poems by this writer, they seem conducive to being misused, misinterpreted and mis- lots of other thingsed by popular culture (because no one ever reads up on Robert Frost himself and realizes how deeply ironic, yet connected to New England his poems are–or bothers to read poems CLOSELY, as in the case of “The Road Not Taken”–right, monster.com advertisers?). So, here the answer: the poem in Death Proof is “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening” by Robert Frost. Maybe the only thing that really bugged me about an otherwise decent movie. Terrible use and completely over-Tarantinoed.

The second PSA is for women. Doo-Wop Bee-Jay. Go nuts.

Day 210: Rambo 4 Trailer

Cerebraljetsam is experiencing cerebral overload.

too many insults

too many cynical jokes

too much disappointment

too many (frankly way too obvious, one would think) points of critique

here the trailer:

The trailer above might not work any more (copyright). If so, try this one instead:

Day 208: Global Warming, DeVito and Beer

After Hollywood has successfully turned an important discussion (global warming) that required actual radical political changes, which needed to be founded upon ideological changes, into a mere fad that will most likely not lead to permanent transformations but will be forgotten by most in about a year or two (“anti-global warming was sooo 2006/07”–maybe it will come back like the 1960s concern with peace and the social bond that was turned into the Love Parade and its connected fashion industry), I am still hopeful when I see that serious (grassroots) organizations/campaigns still fight the good fight and try to popularize the discussion in good, i.e. effective (i.e. smarter than DiCaprio’s latest sorry attempt), ways. Here a Sierra Club program that really spoke to me: picking “green beer:” http://action.sierraclub.org/site/R?i=PfW6p91DWUdxQQf5-2tSAg

Oh, and the cast of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelpha (which, I must admit, has been amusing me to no end–really a form of comedy I appreciate–sorry!) worked with the Sierra Club as well. Here the ad: http://www.sierraclub.org/pressroom/media/2007/alwayssunny.jpg

The link to the Sierra Club homepage can be found in my blogroll–they do a lot of really great stuff. Also: subscribe to the “Daily Ray of Hope” service. Good thing to wake up to.

Day 207: The Dark Knight (teasers)

Already found trailers/teasers for the new Batman movie (The Dark Knight–release: July 2008). It’s a sequel to Batman Begins, as the previous movie directed by Christopher Nolan and starring Christian Bale as Batman (I really like Christian Bale as an actor anyway–no and not just because of his portrayal of Patrick Bateman–the movie also features a bunch of other actors I generally tend to like, such as Gary Oldman and Maggie Gylenhaal). I am not a huge Batman fan (or a fan of any comic/movie adaptation of comics, excluding works by Alan Moore, or Brian K. Vaughan), but Batman Begins was not bad. Also, I have a strangely personal relationship to this new movie: it seemed to follow me throughout Chicago. When I still lived downtown they filmed right in front of my house, beneath the El tracks, in Lower Wacker, etc. When I moved up here they began filming in Lakeview, renting out entire houses/condo buildings, closing down entire streets and lighting up huge sections of the neighborhood during the night (which also recently happened for the filming of a new Angelina Jolie movie–something about car racing and a beefy Dodge Viper) and shut down a part of West Chhicago last week, since they decided to blow up an entire abandoned factory. The Batman crew was/is very secretive about all of this, trying not to let people know what it is they are filming, but if there are hundreds of people in a neighborhood lighting it up all day and blocking the access to my coffee shop with dozens of film trailers people begin to wonder. Upside of all of this, though: they had lots of catering tables standing around and since the security people were too busy making sure people could not see any part of the filming process, take any video they would later post on youtube, or even find out details about the film, I was often able to grab dinner for myself in the form of some muffins and fruit without anyone noticing. I am now officially a fan of big budget movies filmed in my neighborhood. Oh, and on a very different level: just as this new one, Batman Begins was filmed in Chicago and I do enjoy the city as shown in the movies. There is no US city that is more Gotham than Chicago, dark, brooding, large, threatening, crazy architecture (but, if need be, also all fluffy, cute and filled with nice people–apart from North Clark/Wrigleyville and frat-boy Cubs fans, of course). Ok, so here the trailers:

Day 162: Stauffenberg, 07.20.1944 and…TOM CRUISE???

Today a quick post regarding something that just pisses me off to no end. Yesterday marked the 63rd anniversary of the most well-known attempt to assassinate Hitler. Centered around Claus Schenk von Stauffenberg, a small group that came to be referred to collectively as members of the “conspiracy of the 20th of July” organized the military resistance against Adolf Hitler and plotted his murder and a subsequent coup. The plan referred to as “Operation Valkyrie” ultimately failed to kill Hitler, the participants were killed or imprisoned and their families were severely punished (concentration camps etc.) and their last names were changed in order to try to erase their lineage (the Stauffenberg children were re-named “Meister”).

Just in time for this anniversary a new film project called Valkyrie, telling the story of this part of the German resistance against Hitler, was announced together with the pleasant piece of news that Stauffenberg’s role will be played by Tom Cruise. Now, we all know that Hollywood has a limited number of pretty, overpaid actors who are randomly assigned to roles in an utterly de-historicizing manner without any real concern for what the roles are, but letting Tom Cruise, a missionary for the totalitarian organization Scientology, play the role of a person who managed to turn away from totalitarianism and finally decided to wake up, opt for sanity and try to produce progressive change, is just beyond bad taste to me. I know I should not be writing this, since several German directors already proclaimed that too severe a critique of this ideological clusterfuck and affront to history may have negative effects on the appeal Germany has for Hollywood movie productions (“one call to L.A. by a disgruntled producer who has heard people in Germany make negative remarks about Tom Cruise may be enough to severely damage this industry for Germany”), but you know what? Fuck Hollywood! There, I said it. Scientology may be accepted in L.A. as well as among the Hollywood chiqueria who apparently see no contradiction between their assumed political “liberalism” and not speaking out against Scientology activity in their midst, but I for one would be glad to criticize the hell out of Cruise and his fellow Scientologists, especially if this were to destroy an industry whose primary function seems to be to obfuscate the precise history of ideological and political systems. I wish I could find the picture I saw of Tom Cruise dressed as Stauffenberg–let’s just say that, in typical Hollywood fashion, there is little difference between Cruise’s Stauffenberg and Depp’s Jack Sparrow. So much for historical movies coming out of great, fantastic, please-associate-with-us Hollywood. In reference to my earlier post on Die Hard and Bruce Willis: even though he is not from my hometown I will hereby add Cruise to my list of idiot actors I would like to challenge to a duel (since arguing with such people really does not seem to do any good–hence a stupid, boorish, reactionary and unpolitical whacking with a big stick may be the only way to keep them from … well, being themselves).

Sorry for the rant–I am not even that angry at Cruise. His relationship to Scientology is probably taking place on the same intellectual level as the relationship between Mike Tyson and Don King. I am just really annoyed at Hollywood today and maybe even more so at German directors (such as Volker Schloendorff!!!), who let themselves be strongarmed by that industry. It is really, really embarrassing.

P.S.: aaah…here we go! Please see for yourselves: http://www.valkyriemovie.org/.

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