In addition to Independence Day and National Hot Dog Month, July marked Cell Phone Courtesy Month. Let me challenge you to celebrate year round!
If ring tones were more sonically pleasing, perhaps it wouldn’t matter if we forgot our manners and failed to silence our cell phones in public places. Enter composer Max Richter. Richter’s 2008 album 24 Postcards in Full Colour is a collection of dreamy and atmospheric musical moments, composed with the intention they be used as ring tones. The longest track is a mere 2 and a ½ minutes.
Richter was born in Germany, but his family moved to the UK when he was a young lad. Growing up he listened to a whole lot of Philip Glass, Pink Floyd, The Clash, and artists in the electronic music scene such as Kraftwerk. After completing studies in composition and piano, Richter spent time in an ensemble that played works by composers such as the aforementioned Philip Glass, Brian Eno, and Steve Reich. Richter eventually began to focus on his own compositions releasing solo albums in the 2000’s, which brings us back to 24 Postcards. Some music snobs will say these very brief compositions are a creative cop-out, I say don’t forget it’s a concept album!
The album name, 24 Postcards in Full Colour, not only refers to the 24 tracks, but to the 24 accompanying photos in the liner notes. These snapshots, some of which were taken by Richter, add more facets of insight and enjoyment to the listening experience. He has also scored films, including last year’s Waltz with Bashir.
So always remember to practice cell phone courtesy. And the next time you decide to assign a new ring tone, think of Max Richter. Or consider John Cage’s most famous composition…
Just in time for football season, check out this character study of obsessive New York Giants fan Paul Aufiero (comedian Patton Oswalt, in a remarkable performance). After some overzealous stalking of his favorite player leads to an assault, he has to decide where his loyalties lie. Some of the best moments are the nightly calls he makes to his local sports radio show, as well as his rivalry with another frequent caller, Eagles fan Philadelphia Phil. Highly recommended even for non-sports fans (it was a Sundance favorite last year, and was directed by the screenwriter of The Wrestler).
Actor Sean Connery, born in 1930 in Edinburgh, Scotland, and celebrates his birthday on August 25th.
Although best known for portraying James Bond in six feature films (1962-1971), Connery has maintained a successful career post-Bond. He has portrayed four different kings: King Daniel Dravot in The Man Who Would Be King (1975), King Agamemnon in Time Bandits (1981), King Richard in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves (1991) and King Arthur in First Knight (1995). He won the Best Supporting Actor Oscar and Golden Globe for his role in The Untouchables (1987). Connery was awarded Knighthood of the British Empire in the 2000 Queen’s Millennium Honors List for his services to Film Drama. His latest feature film role was Allan Quartermain in The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (2003). Connery lives in the Bahamas.
Fifteen year old Benjamin (Michael Angarano) is an aspiring SF writer whose manuscript is ripped off by Chevalier (Jemaine Clement) his aging literary hero. Getting his manuscript back is hilarious business as Benjamin also has to moonlight for mother’s custom nightgown business to make ends meet. Chevalier isn’t only person that wants Benjamin’s story. A local film production company is also trying to pervert his precocious novel. Gentlemen Broncos is a story within a story. Besides Benjamin’s quest to get his words back, we see his book, The Yeast Lords: The Bronco Years, envisioned by three different minds on three different budgets. Yes, The Yeast Lords is as funny/awful as it sounds. Imagine the rad doodlings of Napoleon Dynamite’s notebooks come to life. Brought to us by the same creative team behind Napoleon Dynamite, Broncos hilariously spoofs pompous SF writers and their geeked-out conventions (both literary and hotel-bound). You’re allowed to laugh if you area nerd. Come to think of it, you probably won’t get it otherwise. I laughed the covers off my paperbacks.
The opening credits are a buzz inducing collection of trash surreal SF paperbacks with the lettering altered. If you appreciate that kind of thing you might enjoy:
We’re August hot. Amanda transmorphs with the novels of Rachel Vincent. Crystal goes arty and mobile when she considers 21st century music of Max Richter. Bill celebrates one of the best movies never to get a video release, The Friends of Eddie Coyle, which is out now on DVD.
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