Sunday, February 29, 2004

last night i finally found the time to watch the grace chang film mambo girl. in this film grace plays a high school girl who loves to sing and dance and is dubbed by her friends and family 'mambo girl'. there is lots of great music in this film, most of it sung by grace, but a few numbers sung by others as well.

there's even a nightclub scene showing chinese hipsters watching a scanitily glad young woman doing some sort of interpretive dance while the chinese tito puente supplies the musical backdrop.

peter and his siblings were pretty horrified by some of the music in the film, especially a scene i really loved where they sung happy birthday, which seemed to combine more traditional chinese pop music with the chinese answer to mambo.

the obligatory reconciliatory scene is accompanied by a great slap as well. how many times do we get a slap as the beginning of some sort of reconcilation?

next up on my list of grace chang films i want to see is air hostess. hopefully some shop here will get that one in as well. her films don't seem very common here unfortunately.

Saturday, February 28, 2004

today is a national holiday which means i didn't have to work. so peter and i decided to take the train to hsinchu and spend the day wandering around.

upon arrival, the first place we ended up at was the eslite bookstore. i ended up buying this book on old taiwan stores. basically, it's jam packed full of pictures of old toys, movie posters, and other wonderful memorabilia. there's even a list of places where you can see or buy things seen in the book. the book is in chinese, but it's mainly pictures and a lot of the writing is brief so that i should hopefully be able to translate most of the book without too much trouble.

i also picked up this magazine devoted to things from the 50s to the 80s. it's divided up into different sections: fashion, toys, comics, tv games, music, and bikes(as in scooters and motorcycles). there are lots of pictures of toys i'd love to have in here. thumbing through this magazine reminds me of thumbing through the sears catalogue when i was a child drooling over all the toys i hoped santa would bring.

after the bookstore we walked around a bit and stumbled upon the hsinchu image museum. a combination museum and movie theater. the museum area was pretty small. they had a lot of old posters on display as well as old film equipment. the staff were super friendly, and told us about the history of the theater. apparently it was built by the japanese and was the first theater to have air conditioning in taiwan. during ww II the roof of the building got blown off. they tried to get us to the go the film that evening, but sadly the film had no english subtitles so that was a no go.

Friday, February 27, 2004

i can't seem to get enough of this game grow. depending on the order you add objects different things happen. so far my highest score has been 12,000 and i've managed to max out 11 of the 12 objects. odd thing is that maxing out the most objects doesn't neccesarily mean you'll get a higher score. via weblog wannabe.

Thursday, February 26, 2004

this week's photo friday challenge is status:

this was a very difficult challenge for me. this shot is one of the guards at the chiang kai-shek memorial hall. you have to have a certain status to be a guard there.

also, i've finished posting the shots from the 2004 taipei lantern festival. they can be found on photo action boy here.

Wednesday, February 25, 2004

yesterday i met up with my swedish friend jan who lives in japan. i know jan from the exoticalist. it's rare for people i know to come to taipei, so i always enjoy showing them around when they do. if they are a foreigner like myself living in asia, it's nice to compare notes on our experiences.

i took jan to the guang hua computer bazaar where he picked up some dvds, and i picked up season three of the simpsons which has finally been released in taiwan. after that we stumbled upon this gorgeous chinese restaurant i'd never seen before(pictured above from their pamphlet). it was a little expensive, but we couldn't resist. the place was really nice and the service excellent.

unfortunately shortly after we left my stomach started to act up and i thought i was going throw up. as a result, i had to cut short the site seeing tour with jan, and cancel my classes for the night(this is also why there was no entry yesterday).

Monday, February 23, 2004

the robot art of eric joyner. via gordon.coale.

Sunday, February 22, 2004

the decline of the magazine cover. via stone cold pimpin'. some interesting points made about the blandness of magazine covers. jean snow linked to this page of chinese glossies awhile back. upon seeing them i was disappointed that most of them seem to be chinese versions of western magazines, and just as bland. when i first went to mainland china in '98 i was given some chinese magazines. the colour and style looked like something out of the 50s and they were appealing because of that. i somehow doubt you'd find things like that now though.

Saturday, February 21, 2004

a few days ago i went to the museum of contemporary art to see thier latest show. there were some interesting installations and photography exhibits. this was the first time i'd been to the museum since they had remodelled. now all their lockers have names that are art related. i stored my bag in locker zero, though the actual number was 05.

one of my favourite things at the show was a series of photographs by the mainland chinese artist cang xin(a few samples are pictured above). several of the other exhibits were rather explicit. the funny thing is the tags warning parents about such things were very small. so small in fact it'd be easy to not even be aware such things were on exhibit until it was too late.

according to this article, this summer the museum will be hosting a show devoted to comics and anime and will feature the art of yoshitomo nara(!). i know where i'm going to be spendnig a lot of time this summer...

Friday, February 20, 2004

recently i got an email inviting me to participate in the temporary museum. from their website:

The Museum
The museum itself is located in my home. It is about 40x50 cm big and has 33 compartments. This website is a representation of what is currently in the museum, i.e. the compartments.

The Idea
Most of the objects in the museum are linked to a memory or anecdote which increases their actual value far beyond the materialistic one. The museum is a chance to give such seemingly meaningless objects the platform they deserve. They are Temporary Art.

i love the fact that you can see what people have sent in, and that the artwork is constantly rotating. of what is up now, the following is one of my favourite pieces:

i'm already planning to participate. you can too.

Thursday, February 19, 2004

tonight when i got home i had a package waiting for me from my friend regina in germany. among the goodies was this advert for circus william(and yes, i really look like that). some of the goodies include:

it's like christmas in february around here. well, technically most of these things aren't gifts. as this is part of a trade regina and i have been working on. she bought me stuff i wanted(and i can't find here), and i am going to get her stuff she wants(that she can't find in germany) in return. the dvds are pal region two, but i'm not certain our tv here is pal compatible, but i know i can play them on my pc even if the tv can't. i'm very curious about hyper utesov presents. because i have a japanese release under the same name, but it just lists it as if it's a messer fur frau muller release, but this one is a compilation. so i may of inadvertantly ended up with two copies of the same release(just checked, they are different. different song titles and different number of tracks).

Wednesday, February 18, 2004

Tuesday, February 17, 2004

one musical oddity that doesn't seem to get very much press is that of the industrial musical. musicals written and performed to encourage salesman to go out and sell sell sell! the history of the industrial musical gives a nice overview of some of these long lost gems. and now the wonderful people at bob thompson music have put up bob thompson's industrial musical the agency man for download. wonderful. via the sound scavengers list.

Monday, February 16, 2004

charlie brown is an existentialist. an interesting article on the philosophy inherent in the peanuts comic strip. via boing boing.

Sunday, February 15, 2004

this week's photo friday challenge is abstract:

there are a lot of really strong entries this time around. i'm quite fond of the entries from myla and god among insects to name two.

over on photo action boy i've started posting the pictures i took at the 2004 taipei lantern festival. the plan is to the post three a day. this being year of the monkey there are lots of nice shots of monkey lanterns.

saturday morning live action kid vid. a site devoted to live action satrurday morning shows from the 70s. i'm especially happy to see information on space academy and ark II here. the web master mentions that he's only covered shows that appeared on the three major american networks in the 70s, and he lists a few shows not mentioned. among these is kids are people too, but i recall watching kids are people too on abc. hmm. via geisha asobi.

Saturday, February 14, 2004

today after work as i was walking through 228 park on my way to the mrt. i passed these three young women dressed in costumes. i overcame my usual shyness and asked them if i could take their picture. peter says they are dressed like some of the characters from the pili puppet tv show. taipei could really benefit from more people wandering the streets in costumes.

Friday, February 13, 2004

i recently finished reading the cartoon music book. the book for the most part is a great read for those of us interested in the music used in cartoons. especially nice are the interviews with carl stalling and hoyt curtain. the only drawback being they are way too brief, but when you are dealing with people who have passed on, i'll take what i can get. the details behind the early disney cartoons was pretty fascinating as well as the story on how fantasia came about and some of the techniques used.

when they got into more recent cartoons i'm not sure what i think. they interview the people responsible for the music in animaniacs. but when animaniacs came out i wasn't very impressed. any show where they feel the need to make characters talk like stupid little kids is a big turn off for me. so not liking the show(maybe i'd feel different seeing it today, but i'm not so sure), i have no real memory of the music. after reading this i'm curious to hear the music, it could very well be something i'd end up loving.

they interview mark mothersbaugh, who i've always sort of respected from his work with devo. but some of the projects he's been involved with makes me wonder what he was thinking. of course when i don't like something, i usually don't pay attention to the music unless it's exceptional. unfortunately most current film and cartoon soundtracks are not very interesting.

the book is mainly about american cartoons. but they do have one chapter on japanese anime. this is good as they mention akira, cowboy bebop and even name drop some of my favourite artists from the 90s(pizzicato five, fantastic plastic machine, & united future organization). they don't really touch older anime which is a real shame as the music is often better than most of the soundtracks put out today. but the major omission is that there isn't a single mention of lupin the third or yuji ohno. for me this is like talking about american cartoon music and failing to even mention carl stalling.

Thursday, February 12, 2004

the seperate cinema archive. a site devoted to the art and history of black cinema. via dr. menlo.

Wednesday, February 11, 2004

my latest mail order of dvds have arrived, so i've been spending the last few days watching some old favourites.

these old don knotts' comedies are of particular interest, not just because i love the films themselves, but for the wonderful scores by vic mizzy. i recall being so impressed with the music of the ghost and mr. chicken as a child that i planned to hold a tape recorder up to the tv speaker to record the music the next time it was on. i never did do that, but in hindsight i think this may be where some of my love for spaceage pop and exotica come from.

serial mom was peter's introduction to john waters(he's since gone on to find joy in his earlier films as well). i found it cheap on vcd(with chinese subtitles) and bought it. peter loved it(his sisters on the otherhand were not so enthralled). when we were in seattle over christmas, peter wanted to find it on dvd. we ran out of time to really do that, so when we got back to taiwan i mail ordered it for him. i somehow doubt we'll be seeing a taiwan edition of this released on dvd.

i haven't seen the young ones in over ten years, but i've often thought of them. it's good to see that i still love their irreverance as much as ever. the quality of the dvd isn't that great, but i'd rather have not so great quality than not being able to see it at all. i wonder if the reason the quality is on the low end is that the master tapes are not in such great shape?

please note that later today the server will be going down again. if the pictures have disappeared that is why. it should (hopefully) be back up later in the evening.

Tuesday, February 10, 2004

the tiki inspired art of flounder. i wonder if there is a catalogue of his work available somewhere? whenever i see these great art sites where i can't afford to buy the work(or it's been sold) i always hope for the next best thing, a nice book packed full of colour photos of the work. via gmtplus9.

Monday, February 09, 2004

this week's photo friday challenge is glamour:

so here you have a shot of a glamourous lantern taken tonight at the taipei lantern festival. i try to go every year and take pictures if i can. this year the weather has been so cold and rainy, i didn't know if i was going to be able to go, but tonight it wasn't raining so after work i took a gander. it wasn't nearly as crowded as it has been in the past. i'm not sure if this is due to the weather, the fact that i didn't go on a weekend, or that i got there after 10 pm.

Sunday, February 08, 2004

as far as i'm concerned there can never be enough on line record galleries, and this one of incredibly strange albums is no exception. via geisha asobi.

Saturday, February 07, 2004

the other night i found the time to finally sit down and watch f.w. murnau's nosferatu. i'd never seen this before, and i think i like it more than dracula. it was interesting to see this after having seen shadow of the vampire, as certain scenes were familiar and i'd kept thinking of things from that film while watching it. the problem is that shadow of the vampire is a fictional account of the filming of nosferatu, so i was never sure if what i remembered seeing in shadow of the vampire really happened or was just their fictionalized account of it.

Friday, February 06, 2004

life of brian has been full of great stuff lately. a link to an article on the chinese government's cover up of the avian flu. you'd think they'd learned their lesson from sars, but apparently not.

then there's this blogger keeping her daughters safe from mormons, homosexuals and others who might corrupt her precious children. i'm curious if her children will rebel in their teen years or embrace the intolerance they have been taught?

and finally, a great article written by brian himself about the janet jackson strip show. flash your breasts for freedom. i like this little article so much, i'm tempted to print it out and use it in my group class tomorrow.

we're having server problems again. we recently switched some of the computers to wireless, and things have been up and down since then. just about every morning i cannot get on line. i'm not sure what any of this has to do with the server, but peter has been working on it as well. hopefully things'll be back to normal soon. apologies to anyone from photo friday coming here to see my entry, only to see a red x.

Thursday, February 05, 2004

this week's photo friday challenge is emptiness:

i haven't done a photo friday in awhile. i've been busy and the weather hasn't been the best for picture taking(nearly nonstop rain) so i haven't really been in the mood to go out and snap pictures. i had hoped to come up with something a little less standard for this theme, but alas it was not to be.

Wednesday, February 04, 2004

the kind people over at weirdomusic are giving away a copy of the dvd off the charts: the song poem story!. all you have to do to enter is fill out their form with your name and email. via the sound-scavengers list.

Tuesday, February 03, 2004

i know i should be really impressed that this version of scrabble was made with css, xhtml, and javascript. but all i really care about is that i find myself repeatedly going back to play the game. it still seems to have a few bugs, as it never tells you the game is over. if you have one tile left, you can put it on the board and hit shuffle. it'll disappear and give you no new(or even the same) tile, yet will continue to ask you to place a word on the board. via weblog wannabe.

Monday, February 02, 2004

yesterday peter and i went to eslite to see this small exhibit on hakka music. they had old records on display, as well as quite a few old phonographs. i ended up buying this ten disc set of old taiwanese music. music from 1910-1945. i've listened to two discs so far, and it appears that a lot of this music is taiwanese opera. the set comes with a decent book giving information on the various releases, lyrics(i think) and an interview or two. of course it's all in chinese, and somehow i don't think i'll be up to the translation effort on this one.

one major drawback to the book that comes with the set is that there aren't very many pictures, and the ones they have are not of the highest quality. i would have liked to have seen large pictures of the sleeves and/or labels. but the few pictures of this sort they have are rather small.

when i went up to buy the set, they looked rather shocked that i wanted to buy it, or that i'd even be interested in such things. on the display table they had a flyer for you to order the dvd release of a documentary on old taiwanese records. the flyer didn't say, but i suspect that the dvd release is in taiwanese with chinese subtitles just like it was when it aired. i would have bought it for sure if it had english subtitles.

after the hakka show we wandered into eslite's music store and to my great surprise they had copies of the mambo girl dvd for sale. a film i've been wanting to see ever since i'd heard about it. i bought it, but haven't had the chance to watch it yet.

later in the day we met up with cindy and her boyfriend ryan and went to taipei film house to see the lars von trier film dogville. ryan accompanied us to the theater, but didn't go to the film having an aversion to the films of lars von trier. this is the first time i'd been to taipei film house, and if they show other art films in english, i'll definately be going. the theater isn't very big, but the audience seems to be better than your usual lip smacking, cell phone talking taiwanese audience. we all liked(well, maybe liked isn't the right word) the film. peter was quite happy to see it end in a blaze of violence as it's the sort of thing that he dreams about happening to all the stupid people in the world.

Sunday, February 01, 2004

world 66(via starkravingmad) lets you generate maps showing the countries you have visited.

hmm, i thought i had been to more places than that, i guess i have a lot more countries to visit! one thing i don't like is in the system they use hk is lumped in with china. i know technically it is, but the visa you get going to hk is a bit different than the one you get going to mainland china.

you can also generate maps of the states you've been to: