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March 10, 2010

Camera is very pleased to announce that our music is now available on Pandora!

Please go set yourself up a station or add Camera to your existing stations!

http://ping.fm/6Ntuv

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I had some lofty ambition about sitting down and listening to a full album…

March 9, 2010

…but then I just put on my latest playlist, starting with Atlas Sounds’ “Quick Canal” off of Logos. I feel better already.  Man, it’s been a long while since I sat down here and actually wrote a blog.  A lot has happened since my last entry.  First, I am writing this on a brand new top-of-the-line laptop thanks to my dearly departed Uncle Phil, who through my father made this possible.

Having lost my uncle at such a young age was a wake up call that I need to turn my life around and get back into great shape.  I used to be an athlete and now I’m probably lower than a potato as far as being active goes.  After more bullshit than anyone would want, I am getting ready to start Beachbody’s P90X program and wow am I nervous.  I was supposed to start today, but my order was messed up for the second consecutive time.  It will be fine, but I wanted to be in shape for my big 30th coming up on June 5th.  (Come, bring me things)

I am still aiming to be in much better shape by then.  I will start this 90 day progrum on Wednesday, hopefully.  It’s the first step on the road to becoming unstoppable.  Yeah, that’s actually my goal.  I want to be a total physical machine!  P90X is the beginning of all of this and I can’t wait to get started, as frighten as I may be.  I took my ‘before’ pictures today and I can’t wait for them to be a shameful reminder as opposed to, well, my life right now!  I’ve become so adept at being secure that I’ve really let myself go.  I can’t look like Orson Welles unless I have the chops to back it up and that my friends, I do not have…yet.  Look out!

I’ve been happily uncreative as of late with no novel or screenplay on my plate.  Camera has played some great shows, but we haven’t had the chance to work on our next three songs (This House On Fire, the Other Artist, and A Place I Know) because we’ve each been sick all winter, me and Joe’s aforementioned Uncle Phil passed away, and Ryan cut his hand open at work.  This all being said, I’ve watched more movies and listened to more music in the past few weeks and months than I have in years with heavy stops at Grizzly Bear (pretty much the entire catalog, but the Friends EP more than anything), the new Gorillaz, and the stellar new Whitest Boy Alive’s Rules.

“What is the right way?  Oh glasses clinking!”

“Give me some money.  Stop daydreaming, dude.”

“WwHoAuTld I want? Sky”

Sometimes you just have to let that out.  Well, this was a short entry, but hopefully I will be back on here more often now that I will have great news to report as I grow towards becoming unstoppable.

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March 2, 2010

Hey Camera fans!
Don’t forget about our FREE SHOW tomorrow night!
Angels and Kings Chicago
710 N Clark Chicago, IL
Also featuring Dear Noel!
One Man(no) Show – Hosted by Ryan Manno!
http://tinyurl.com/y8zplqq

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February 19, 2010

Camera will be performing a FREE SHOW at Angles & Kings on Wednesday, March 3rd!

It will be hosted by Ryan Manno as part of his free series of shows, One Man(no) Show.

ALSO, it is also our Manager, Brian McGraw’s birthday that day, so come on out and celebrate him turning 30!

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Aways learning…(and always listening to Wild Beasts)

February 12, 2010

Netflix, Netflix streaming, downloading movies, renting movies from Family Video, cable, and buying blu-rays have led to an awakening in my life as I head towards 30.  I call it an awakening and not a rebirth because my love of film goes back nearly as far as my life does.  I’ve let it lay dormant for far too long.  When I was 18 I would go to the movies four times a week and I always had something from the video store laying around.  Somewhere between that time and 20, I fell off the charts entirely.  This was, of course, in a time before the advent of Netflix or being able to download movies.

With this new technology at my fingertips, I am reminded of what I loved so much about the medium.  While I can love me some Hollywood movies, it’s what lays on the outskirts of that land that intrigues me the most.  In the years that I have drifted away from film, I’ve still picked up some of my still favorite directors.  Christopher Nolan, Darren Aronosky, and Shane Carruth all came into view during my ‘blackout’ period.  To be honest, a blackout period for me is probably like normal life for anyone else.  I probably sat down and watch 10 movies  a year, maybe going to the theater once or twice.

Netflix streaming has 150 of the Criterion Collections 500 films.  I made it a goal to watch them all this year.  I don’t think I’ll pull it off, but the harder I try, the more rewarding my quest will be.  Besides the enjoyment of the films themselves, I am really enjoying feeling new influence pour over me.

Wim Wenders – his diverse classics Wings of Desire and Paris, Texas are so

Jean Renoir – Called the greatest film maker ever by Stanley Kubrick, son of legendary painter Pierre Auguste Renoir, and director of La Bete Humaine, Le Grande Illusion, and Rules of the Game…he even acts in some of his movies and his performances are always the best on screen (Just watch him has Octave in Rules of the Game)

Jacques Tati – TATI!  Discovering his work is like discovering oxygen!  No  film maker ever has captured human existence on film as Tati did.  The first time I watched M. Hulot’s Holiday, it must have been years since I was so blown away by a film while I was still viewing it.  More than the first time I saw Primer even, moving it all the way back to Requiem for a Dream ten years ago.    His films are so unique that I remember thinking “When is the plot going to come in and ruin this movie?” while watching Holiday for the first time.  It never did.

Rainer Werner Fassbinder – These New Wave Germans own my heart.  I’ve been a huge fan of  Herzog for a bout 5 strong years now (and I say strong because I own two boxed sets of his wok). Fassbinder died at the age of 37 and he made over 40 films.  His work ethic and consistency echo my literary hero (and life coach) Philip K. Dick.  I love having so many more of his films to view in front of me.  I have his 16 hour opus Berlin Alexanderplatz coming in the mail right now.

Sitting here and writing all of this only reminds me that I could me watching a film right now.

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February 3, 2010

Tonight’s Camera show @ the Empty Bottle is a FREE EVENT! Sponsored by HEAVEmedia!
We are honored to be taking the stage with Midstates & the Choir of Ghosts and Houses of Normandie!
We hope to see you all out! Showtime is 9:30pm.

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Watchmen: The Ultimate Cut, J.D. Salinger, and Shearwater’s Rook

January 31, 2010

I wanted to write something the other day when I found out that J.D. Salinger passed away.  I was able to squeeze out a few words via Twitter and Facebook, but I didn’t really scratch the surface of what I wanted to say.

Catcher in the Rye is a very dividing book.  Most people worship it, other don’t understands its appeal and deem it overrated.  I fall into the former category, but not for the reason most others connect with it.   I won’t lie…I did not read shit in high school.  I skipped every book they ever made us read in English class (yet never failed a test.  Oh, our educational system) opting instead to spur on class discussion to reveal all the major details I would later need.  Catcher in the Rye was no exception.  Alienated teen, I get.  I wasn’t totally alienated as a youth, but who’s never alienated at all?  That’s why everyone connects with it at that age, I suppose.

Years go by in my life.  I go away to college for one year where I do far too many drugs and never, ever attend class.  I return home, leaving drugs behind in exchange for becoming an alcoholic, I made it to Europe for three months, and then went clean and sober, using my 21st birthday as a last celebration before I started training for a marathon and a new and better life.  And I found something else out shortly after my 21st birthday.  One night I was taking a walk with my good friend Sasha Picado and her large dog when she asked me if I read.   I bulked up the truth and tried to lie about how avid a reader I was.  Sasha saw right through it and said “You know a shit load about movies and a shit load about music.  You need to get into books”.  So, the next day she took me to Borders and bought me a few books.  I upped the ante and spent some of my own money as well, considering this was a rare time that I would actually have some.  Together, we bought me Atlas Shrugged, On the Road, Glue by Irvine Welsh, Brave New World, and a few others that slip my mind.

I’ve been an avid reader slash sometime complete obsessive ever since.  One of the first ten books that I decided to read was my old unused copy of Catcher in the Rye.  I dove in.  I loved the tone and feel, and I found that being older than him, I could sympathize with Holden Caulfield having survived that time in my life.  I think that was part of the reason I didn’t like the book in the first place.

I should pause here to point out that I did try reading these books (and okay, okay, okay, I actually finished To Kill a Mockingbird as a Freshman and I knew Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas by heart as well as The Naked Soul of Iceberg Slim long before Sasha took me to Borders) but they couldn’t hold my interest.  Keep in mind I hit puberty in 1992 at the height of Nirvana’s Nevermind and Quentin Tarantino’s Reservoir Dogs a mainstay in our family VHS player.  I’d still argue that it’s more important for a 12 year old boy to have heard that album and seen that movie as opposed to having read A Separate Peace or Where the Red Fern Grows.  Art is a seduction and only the lucky ones get pulled in by the most challenging aspects of it early.  For me, it went from music, to movie, and then to literature.  I don’t think I could have gone at it any other way.  Music is easily the most approachable artistic form.  Everyone has hummed a tune before.  Next, would be movies or film because ever if you don’t understand what is going on, all you have to do is sacrifice two hours and your eyes.  Books take more effort.  Books take more imagination, for the most part…I’m looking at you Stephanie Meyer.

On to J.D.

Catcher in the Rye isn’t about the tone, plot, characters, or story.  It’s about one epiphany for Holden Caulfield.  One total realization, akin to the moment in Dostoevsky’s Notes from Underground when its unnamed narrator exclaims “I can’t be good! They won’t let me!” relatively out of nowhere.  The moment comes when Holden visits his sister and tells her the only thing he could ever see himself being happy with his standing in the field of rye, catching children from falling off the cliff.  Man, that’s it.  That’s what that books is about.  Touching our impossible happiness.  At least he knew what his is and that’s what makes the book so important to me.  Holden was getting older, closer to becoming what he deemed a phony every day without even knowing it.  Yet, his remaining innocence allowed him to see past convention and into a world that could never exist.  If he had been fully grown, his answer would have no impact for it would have been something rooted in reality.  Holden Caulfield’s  pain and alienation comes from leaving youth forever.  A pain will all know one day.

I don’t hang on to any part of Holden Caulfield but that one.  He is as flawed of a character that was ever written, but there is truth in his worry.  While he might not be able to accurately put his finger on what upsets him so deeply, he is smart enough to know that something is there disturbing him.

There is magic there in that paragraph in Catcher in the Rye.  I used to have a library of over 1000 books, yet I only have a few things highlighted.  That paragraph is one of them.  Pure magic.  A rarity even through art.