Dreamboy !!

The great site of the Great Christopher Dante Romano. I love his stuff so much I’ve bought one of almost everything… He has comic books, animation videos, “Trash toons,” a book of all his dreams for an entire year…

Reloading the link to the top page will bring up a random part of his site- innovative and infuriating, like so much of Romano’s work!
Web link of note: Dreamboy !!
(At http://dreamboy.com/)

Benshi, Kabuki, Clara Bow

I seriously need some benshi movies.

Back in the days of silent movies, the soundtrack to the movie (if there was any) was performed live. In America, usually this would be in the form of pipe organ music, which had been composed specifically for that feature… sometimes the restored theaters here (the Paramount and the Stanford) in the bay area show silents with the original scores, performed live on a Wurlitzer organ, a piece of machinery so huge it was built into the walls of the theater. It’s extremely cool, and if you bring a date I can almost gaurantee you will get laid.

In Japan however, they didn’t have pipe organs- they had shamisen (a really funky 3-string guitar now usually played by old ladies) and koto. And they had benshi– commentators who would narrate the title cards (the slates with the dialog written on the screen) in the different voices of the characters. They were extremely skilled and some, like “Tokugawa Musei,” became quite well-known.
I urge you to try to see a benshi-commented movie; there are a few subtitled films out there somewhere… if you have ever seen kabuki you will see the similarities in the cartoony voice style. If you have never seen kabuki, mark your calendars for the next time a tour comes near you, or get on a plane immediately to see it in Japan! Japanese animation owes a lot of its exaggerated mannerisms from kabuki. If you haven’t seen Japanese animation… I don’t know. You may be beyond my aid. Go turn on a TV or something.

Back to slient movies: I recently read this article on “talkies”, or movies with the sound we all take for granted today. Snarkout has some great articles, and I’m assuming takes its name from a Daniel Pinkwater book, which is extra cool points right there.

I love Clara Bow. Snarkout’s author, Steve, mentions that although at one point she was the “it girl,” her career was ruined by the advent of the talkies… her voice was just too annoying for most audiences. But one thing Steve doesn’t mention is that she was the original “it” girl- the one who was first associated with that slang phrase. An “It girl” today means the girl of the moment, someone who is recently very popular, who is getting incorporated in seemingly everything… Originally, “It” was sex appeal, but the newspaper reviews could only allude to this due to the social standards of the day (the 1920s).

He also left out Valentino! That guy was great.

I seriously need some benshi movies. And I need some Clara Bow movies. And so do you!

I Am A KALX Dupe

I think I am unwittingly providing danh with a schtick… He’s DJing this morning on KALX. The process goes soemthing like:

  1. He announces the KALX phone number
  2. I call in and make a request, usually something I know about because I heard it on KALX !!
  3. then he makes an announcement about how they don’t have it

it’s kind of comical; he should start making up bands that have supposedly been requested, with funny names