Friday, October 31, 2003

mogwai are coming to taiwan, but tickets are mega expensive. in advance they are selling for nt $1450(about u.s.$42) and for nt$1650(about u.s.$48 ) at the door. this doesn't appear to be a big show either. just a little club show, so who is responsible for the inflated ticket prices? mogwai themselves, the promoters or this new club?

when i saw seam a few years ago, tickets were nt$500, when i saw pink martini nt$300(for the cheap seats, the closer seats were more expensive), when lisa ono was here a few years ago the cheapest seats were nt$900 and went up from there, and when seagull screaming kiss her kiss her were here it was free!

so why is this show so expensive? especially when it is just in a little club. i mean if it was a big name band like radiohead i could understand the expense(i wouldn't like it, but i could understand it) but mogwai? maybe someone's mixed up taipei with tokyo.

needless to say, this is one show i won't be attending. plus it's happening right after my birthday weekend(the wishlist is to the left for anyone wishing to spoil me rotten). we'll be going to kenting that weekend. a place people have been telling me for years i should visit. we're not going specifically for my birthday, but my school just happens to be closed that weekend, so i have the opportunity to go somewhere.

Thursday, October 30, 2003

the picture of everything. this is really cool. a drawing cram full of all kinds of cartoon and super heroes. above is just a small section of the whole piece. you can zoom in and see close ups of each character. just about every super hero is here. i didn't see doraemon, but i don't think he's that well known outside of asia. and he may be hiding in the picture somewhere. via j-walk.

Wednesday, October 29, 2003

"sylvia plath put her head in an oven..." & other disturbing deaths in the literary world. a site detailing how authors died. an interesting fact i learned from this page is that when percy bysshe shelley was cremated his heart wouldn't burn so they gave it to his wife as a souvenir. makes me think of those people that have their pets stuffed after they die, so they'll still be around. i wonder if it'd be legal to preserve your loved ones in formaldehyde after they die instead of having them buried? you could keep them in giant glass containers in the basement. "this is your grandfather, and your great grandmother..." it could be creepy and educational! via quiddity.

Tuesday, October 28, 2003

the hitmaker archive. a searchable database of people who have recorded songs written by burt bacharach. it seems pretty exhaustive as they even have the songs that pizzicato five have recorded as well as 5th garden. via scrubbles.

speaking of burt bacharach, i had a few hours to kill between classes today so i found myself in a cd shop and i picked up a few things. first was this ella fitzgerald cd called sunshine of your love. it's a live disc in which she does a couple of bacharach numbers as well as a version of sunshine of your love. i really love her version of that song, though some consider it sacrilege. it amuses me that people can get so worked up over something like that, or be horrified by dolly parton doing stairway to heaven. though i suppose i would feel the same way if someone like mariah carey covered some song i held dear to my heart.

along with the ella fitzgerald disc, i picked up one of the fong fei fei cd reissues, an album called by chance. it's from 1975. she does a version of it's a small world sung in chinese. a lot of the old chinese and taiwanese cd reissues are compilations, not complete albums. often times there are no pictures of the singers on them. so it's great to have these fong fei fei reissues with the original cover artwork. there's a nice fong fei fei website(chinese only) here that has lots of great pictures of her and her hats(she was known as the hat singer due to her large collection of hats). while i was buying these discs i noticed that there have been two live concerts(well, i think they are concerts) released on dvd. one from sometime in the 70s and one from 1981. i wonder if the 1981 is really disco sounding?

Monday, October 27, 2003

this week's photofriday challenge is power.

maybe not the most original shot, but at least it's not another set of powerlines.

Sunday, October 26, 2003

after the parade(see below) peter and i went to see kill bill. i would of liked this film better if the segments in japanese would of had english subtitles, i could pick up a little from the chinese i can read, but whenever they would start speaking japanese i'd just think oh god, not again. i'm not a big fan of tarantino. i really like his early films, but all the hype surrounding tarantino the celebrity has really turned me off. i wasn't sure what i'd think of this, as the trailer i'd seen hadn't impressed me much. i came away with a lukewarm response. i know some people are making a lot of how violent this film is, but it hardly affected me at all, unlike the violence in reservoir dogs which had a much greater impact on me. the acting was good(and all the film references were as well), but i just wanted more. i never felt really engaged with the characters and didn't really care when most of them died.

right after we left the theater we saw some monks(or something like them) marching through the center of hsimenting. one of them beating himself with an object with spikes coming out of if it. so from fake violence to real violence for religious reasons. a bit surreal to go from one to the other like that.

on wednesday i posted a picture i'd taken in hsimenting. well, today i know why that tent was there. today was some god's birthday and all day in hsiminting there were different gods parading through the streets. i took a load of pictures.

this is a pic of some of those costumes dancing in the street like i mentioned in wednesday's post.

a smaller one really going at it.

this green guy was going around asking for money. we gave him some money before i snapped this picture, but i don't think he was really part of the other festivities as none of the others were asking for money.

this group of women stopped near us to get a bite to eat while waiting for the parade route to continue. they saw me take a picture of them earlier, and came over and asked me if i could speak chinese. i told them yi dian dian(a little). they asked me how old i was which is what people always ask me. and shortly after this a man came over to me and said to me in english taiwan good! and gave me a big red smile. red because he was chomping away on some bing lan(betel nut) which turns your mouth a hideous shade of red. it's like talking to someone who has just eaten a knuckle sandwich.

preparing the gods for the parade. more pictures will go up on photo action boy in the coming week sometime.

Saturday, October 25, 2003

today after work i met up with cindy at the one record shop here that i know of that carries a fair amount of old taiwanese vinyl. i picked up a few oddities. the first is a record called sound of magic saw vol. 3 by lee fang-teng. a year or so ago while flipping channels i saw on one of the tv shows here(that feature old music), a man playing a musical saw. but i never knew who it was, but i suspect it is the same man who recorded this record. i haven't had the chance to listen to the record yet(and we still need a new amp, so i'm sort of waiting till we get that problem sorted out) but the songs appear to be a series of waltzes, rumbas and blues numbers.

i also picked up this cordovox record. the cordovox apparently is some sort of electronic accordion. and finally i picked up this partridge family record. i've mainly been trying to buy old chinese records and avoiding anything that was re-issued on cd. but when i saw the partridge family record with chinese on the sleeve for 50nt i couldn't resist.

at the shop i nearly bought some old disco record that features covers(in chinese) of rod stewart, giorgio moroder, and barry manilow songs. i want to show the record to peter to see if he has any advice on that one. it's always helpful to have some taiwanese advice on these sort of things.

Friday, October 24, 2003

otis fodder, mastermind behind the 365 days of mp3 madness is selling off some of his music collection to pay some bills. the cds i bought from him arrived yesterday:

  • this is beaumont ~ beaumont

  • plays lost tv themes ~ stereophonic space sound unlimited

  • the fluid soundbox ~ stereophonic space sound unlimited

  • the spacesound effect ~ stereophonic space sound unlimited

  • bombay the hard way guns cars & sitars

beaumont is on the siesta label and fit in nicely with a lot of the soft & sunshine pop i'm into these days. i've seen this in the shops here, but never bought it. and now i'm wondering why i hadn't picked it up sooner.

stereophonic space sound unlimited is probably best described as surf meets spaceage pop. very nice.

bombay the hard way is a bollywood comp. i'm a little confused as there are dialogue samples in english but i thought bollywood films were shot in hindi. either way i'm digging the music.

Thursday, October 23, 2003

the bell sisters were a sister singing duo in the 1950s. i thought i hadn't heard of them before, but listening to some of the mp3s on this site, i think i've heard them and just not known who they were. the site is run by their nephew, and there is even footage of their appearance on the dinah shore show among others. via the exoticalist.

Wednesday, October 22, 2003

this week's photofriday challenge is body.

i took this down near hsimenting. there was a small tent set up on a street corner and they were playing music while these were on display. i'm not exactly sure what this is. i think this is one of the giant puppets they sometimes wear during parades for certain gods.

it's been nearly six years since i've had a turntable, but as you can see that is not the case anymore.

we've spent most of tonight trying to get it set up. the cords aren't long enough to connect it to the stereo(we'll get new ones tomorrow), but we were able to connect it to the tv. so at least we could hear a little(the volume was super low though). peter tried out some of the vinyl he picked up a few weeks ago when we were out looking for old chinese vinyl.

it's a good thing that vinyl is rather beat up as peter has a few things to learn about record care. while we were setting things up peter and his brother were reminiscing about nearly killing people by using vinyl as frisbees.

i'd forgotten how much i'd missed having a turntable. peter is already off scouring auction sites for vinyl by his favourite singer, and we're planning to go in search of vinyl this weekend.

the record sitting on the turntable is something i picked up for 50 nt a few weeks ago called ke ai de ma(the cute horse). it was recorded sometime in the 70s apparently, and has horse sounds on it(so i've been told). i'm really curious as to what it'll sound like. tomorrow i'll know.

Monday, October 20, 2003

last week i went to the taipei fine arts museum. one of the shows was devoted to taiwanese avant garde art in the sixties. this was very interesting because at the time taiwan was hardly a free society. there were heated discussions on modern art and if it was good or even art. some paintings were confiscated at this time for being "too political" and were not returned to the artists until 1980. i don't know in what way these paintings were political, as they certainly don't appear that way now. unless it had something to do with the titles of the work.

also on display was a retrospective of the visual 10 photography group. a group of photographers that documented different aspects of taiwanese society. some of this work was really interesting, just to look back at that time or at the design and fashion style throughout the years.

there was another photography show on as well. but there were no pamphlets about it and the tfam website doesn't have any information on it, so i'm not sure who it was. but it was very interesting, as the photographs had been altered digitally. sometimes just slightly, other times greatly. one photograph featured manhole covers, which made me think of jean's post about manhole covers.

Sunday, October 19, 2003

today peter and i hung out with cindy. we went to some book shops, a cd shop, and to a few computer shops. i was pretty good, and only bought a book and printer ink. cindy did quite a bit of damage. in the computer shops peter helped cindy find a cheap printer, and we ogled the camera i plan to get now that my tax refund is waiting to be picked up. at the bookstore i picked up this book called mr. lazy it's in both english and chinese and comes with a cd and vcd. i want to use it to help me learn more chinese characters. unfortunately, they read the story really fast. so it's hard to keep up. but at least it shows that i haven't totally given up on learning to read the characters.

Saturday, October 18, 2003

in the need of a new photo project to contribute to? how about the eye project? or the toy project? or the tattoo project? or the head project?

i was surprised to see some tattoos of chinese characters that actually look good, as most of the tattoos i've seen of chinese characters look rather terrible. i'll probably contribute something to the toy project, and i don't think i'll be able to resist taking a picture of the back of my head in front of my computer screen. via fiendish is the word.

Friday, October 17, 2003

the mah jong museum. i especially like the gallery of different mahjong sets. via solipsistic gazette.

Thursday, October 16, 2003

imitating record jackets. i'm surprised there aren't more sites out there like this. or maybe there are and i'm just unaware of them. via geisha asobi.

Wednesday, October 15, 2003

today i went to the museum of contemporary art. one of the shows at the museum features works of a political nature. some of these pieces probably wouldn't make sense if you weren't familiar with the problems taiwan encounters due to being internationally isolated. there was on piece dealing with the so called comfort women. women forced to be prostitutes for the japanese during the occupation. another piece consisted of manicans dressed as taiwanese soldiers contemplating bananas(i think this was my favourite). there was even a photograph of a urinal that looked like ancient chinese porcelin. good to see that the influence of duchamp is alive and well.

Tuesday, October 14, 2003

doctor foxglove's polaroid triptych project. a series of triptychs taken with a polaroid instant camera. it makes me wish i had a polaroid camera. via penny dreadful.

Monday, October 13, 2003

this week's photofriday challenge is translucent.

Sunday, October 12, 2003

the consumer reports vintage photo gallery. via everlasting blort.

Saturday, October 11, 2003

some graffiti found in hsimenting. there are more shots of graffiti and other odds and ends here.

Friday, October 10, 2003

today is double ten, taiwan's national day. sort of like independance day, but since taiwan hasn't declared it's independance it's just a national day. there are fireworks, parades and politicians using it to further their own political agendas. happy double ten taiwan!

Thursday, October 09, 2003

yesterday after work i went to eslite in search of a birthday present for my friend erin. i found her gift, but of course couldn't leave the store without buying something for myself. i came away with two more books in the taschen icon series. more vintage graphic eye candy for me to ogle. oddly, see the world doesn't have an essay at the beginning. i think this is the first in the series that lacks the introductory essay. i learned from kitchen kitsch that maxfield parrish did some artwork for jell-o.

i love the style to a lot of these old graphics, but so far the books i've seen focus on american brands or brands marketed in western countries. i'd love to see similiar books produced for graphics created in asia, south america, eastern europe, and so on. i've seen old taiwanese advertisments for movies before, but only in museums.

the next icon book i'll probably get will be extra/ordinary objects. eslite doesn't have it right now, but i know they can special order it. i prefer to be able to thumb through a book before buying it, but sometimes you don't have that option.

after buying these books, i headed to the basement and picked up the lotus palace by the alan lorber orchestra in the eslite music store. i was surprised to find it on cd at all, but even more surprised to find it in a section devoted to krautrock and prog. i had no idea this had even been released as a cd, but it was back in 97. this is an east meets west sitar recording from the 1960s. sitar renditions of mas que nada, lucy in the sky with diamonds, the look of love, could you go wrong?

once upon a time there was a blog called desultry engine. it was created by my friend myndi, and it was this blog that inspired me to create robot action boy. well, now she is back and has been for a few months. i've just been in the dark about it. the new blog is crabby baby. i'm digging it.

to continue with the dolls theme from yesterday, today i bring you the beyond the valley of the dolls tarot cards. i just wish the images of the cards were larger.

valley of the dolls, beyond the valley of the dolls, and faster pussycat kill kill! have all been on my want list of movies that should be released on dvd. well apparently valley of the dolls has been released in australia(region 4). and beyond the valley of the dolls has been released in both spain and australia. and faster pussycat kill kill! has been released on dvd in france(region 2).

i usually use when i'm looking to buy dvds on line. but they seem to focus on region one releases, as i couldn't find these releases in their database. anyone know a good price comparison site for dvd shops offering non-region one releases?

Wednesday, October 08, 2003

valley of the dollars. in 1968 mad magazine published this send up of valley of the dolls. and now through the wonders of the internet all of us that threw away our old magazines or never bothered to read mad in the first place can enjoy it. via scrubbles.

Tuesday, October 07, 2003

the photofriday challenge for this week is interior.

this shot was taken in an old shopping center in hsimenting. some other shots i took the same day can be found on photoactionboy.

Monday, October 06, 2003

tonight on the mrt i saw a man wearing an orange lilo & stitch backpack, white addidas socks, with a playboy belt buckle completing the ensemble. if i knew anything about fashion, i'd be inclined to think there was something wrong with this combination. of course it doesn't compare to the grandpas i'll see walking down the street in the middle of the day wearing bright pink hello kitty pajamas.

Sunday, October 05, 2003

this afternoon peter and i went to see confessions of a dangerous mind about chuck barris creator of such classic game shows as the dating game and the gong show. the theater was pretty full, which seemed a bit surprising(how many taiwanese even know who chuck barris is?).

there were even some foreigners at the screening, who appear to have just gotten off the plane as they didn't even know that in taiwan you have assigned seats when you see a movie(i suspect this may be the same in most of asia). they ended up sitting behind us, but luckily they didn't feel the need to talk through the movie, though one felt tapping their foot on the back of my seat in tune with a few of the songs was a good idea.

the film was ok, though i wish there would of been more footage of the game shows. the funniest thing in the whole movie, was when someone in the audience fell asleep and started snoring. aside from the footage of the old game shows, the best thing about the movie was the soundtrack. some really great stuff on here. vikki carr doing the theme to the silencers, esquivel's mucha muchacha, yma sumac's gopher mambo among others. the silencers is one of my favourite themes, good to see it is available on cd. now if they'd re-issue the full soundtrack for the silencers i'd be even happier.

seeing clips from the gong show made me think it was on some level a precursor to modern day interest in outsider music. at the time the show was aired i'm sure i felt that those people were pretty bad as well, but looking back, i'm not sure those performances weren't without their charms.

we had some time to kill before the show so we ended up at a cd shop, and i picked up another double disc set by yao su-rong. this one doesn't seem to be quite as good as the other one i have. but maybe it'll grow on me with time.

bible sex stories. oh my. via everlasting blort.

Saturday, October 04, 2003

vintage circus postcards. via quiddity.

Friday, October 03, 2003

yesterday in one of my classes we were discussing old chinese and taiwanse singers. my student was pretty amazed that i knew people like yao su-rong and hu mei-hong. and when i mentioned fong fei fei she mentioned that fong fei fei will be peforming in taipei. i was totally psyched as it would be great to see one of those old singers, but when i got home i found out her show is sold out and that tickets are being scalped for nt $6,000(about 178 u.s. dollars). a bit out of my price range. sometimes at concerts here they will project the concert on video screens outside the venue, so i may be able to see it that way if i'm lucky.

one year ago today, this blog came into existence. happy birthday blog!

Thursday, October 02, 2003

i'm quickly becoming addicted to the online version of this old dinner party card game. via geisha asobi.

Wednesday, October 01, 2003

yesterday i found time to watch the grace ge lan chang dvd our dream car. the box compared it to old doris day movies. the film is about a newlywed couple, but it's not quite as wacky as a doris day comedy. in some ways it plays more as a straight lovestory.

but having said that, the film isn't without its slightly wacky moments. in one scene ge lan bursts into song as the screen is split diagonally. she sings about car safety and the thrill and freedom you feel when you are able to drive on the open road, while in the other screen you see her fulfilling those dreams. in another scene the couple get in a heated argument accented by car sounds to represent their emotions.

the film was released in 1959, and ge lan gets to wear some wonderful dresses in the film. since the film is in black and white, i'm really curious as to what those dresses would look like in colour.

another curious thing about this film is that the newleywed couple never kiss. they hug a little, but no lip to lip kissing. however, the young unmarried woman in the film gets to kiss her boyfriend. strange the married couple aren't allowed to kiss, but the unmarried woman is allowed to? maybe at this time they thought it would of ruined ge lan's image. though that doesn't seem to be much of a concern in her later films.

in the booklet with the dvd there is a filmography(for the director i think) with pictures from the films listed. several of the films star ge lan. one called air hostess, which appears to have something to do with a wedding aboard an airplane. another called the wild wild rose, where i think she gets to play a more wild woman. and because of her, which looks like it includes a cha cha number. i wonder if they sing achoo cha cha in that film?