Pan and Scan Deconstructed by Famous Directors

  • Posted by
  • on August 28, 2009
  • Filed in: Film

At this point the injustice of practice of pan-and-scan (cropping movies to fit the standard 4:3 television screen) is widely accepted. Once the ire of filmmakers, hepatitis savvy film viewers are increasingly in the same boat with the opinion that changing the format of a movie in turn changes the moviegoing experience. And never for the better.

But this short peice, order featuring some excellent examples and interviews with directors like Michael Mann & Martin Scorcese, makes the most convincing argument I’ve heard. Curtis Hanson‘s Last Supper analogy pretty well puts the nail in the coffin.

“All films made from 1953 on for the past 50 years, have been made in one widescreen form or another. Whether it’s just normal widescreen or the 70mm or Cinemascope or Panavision.” – Martin Scorcese

2009 Adult Soapbox Derby

I didn’t make it to the Soapbox Derby this year, pills but I’ve been a few times so what’s the difference. Let me set the scene: a couple thousand people hang out and watch a couple of dozen teams race homemade cars down the side of Mt. Tabor here in Southeast. The crowd drinks openly and gets nerve-wrackingly close to the track. Volunteers with blowhorns yell at people who come dangerously close to getting hit by speeding, drunken projectiles, barreling down the side of Mt. Tabor.

It’s awesome, it’s a Portland institution.

This video from a Portland filmmaker who goes by the handle Brewcaster sums it up pretty well. The second video from the Yakima team (which fared second place) is also worth checking out. While overly high-tech compared to the competitors, this Yakima car is pretty sweet. Their mounted camera turned out some cool footage.

Puppy O’Shaughnessy Remembered

“I had a different name for the guy: leave-em-for-dead O’Shaughnessy.”

Check out this mockumentary about a fictional bike messenger in Portland. It was made by Joe Lumbroso, who runs a design and new media firm in San Francisco (it appears he used to live here.) I really dig the performances.

Dan Deacon’s Dope Ass Ride

  • Posted by
  • on August 25, 2009
  • Filed in: Music

Check out Dan Deacon‘s tour bus. It’s an old schoolbus modified to run off of two fuel systems, stomach diesel and vegetable oil. I had a couple of friends in Eugene who did a very similar conversion to a 24-foot Grumman bread truck so they could go on tour. It’s a ton of work, click and an ongoing project to be sure. Here is a quote from mechanic Ray Roy: “For a tour like what Dan is doing right now… His tour is completely self-produced and very DIY. This is the perfect marriage for that, ophthalmologist this DIY vehicle.”

My favorite part is when Dan’s talking about the Canadian authorities: “We can’t let you into Canada – the bus is too filthy… It’s too filthy for us to check. We know you have drugs, it’s just too filthy to check.”

Portland Custom Bike Builder Jordan Hufnagel

Poking around the internet, discount as I’m likely to do, nurse I came accross the work of Jared Sourney a photographer, buy graphic designer, videographer type here in Portland. Among his other works, I enjoyed his documentary-style piece on local bike builder Jordan Hufnagel.

This was produced for Level Magazine, formerly a print magazine, now getting a second helping of life on the web. Among the contributors on staff at Level Magazine is a gentleman I met in Austin, Roy Christopher. Christopher’s has a book called Follow For Now, a celebrated collection of interviews, that I keep running accross online. I need to check it out in person.

Two Blitzen Trapper Cuts from the Sound of Young America at the Bridgetown Comedy Fest

  • Posted by
  • on August 24, 2009
  • Filed in: Music

Two months back I posted a video from the Bridgetown Comedy Festival featuring a live recording of the podcast Jordan Jesse Go. Well today I was poking around on Jesse Thorn’s Vimeo account and found another fantastic clip of Blitzen Trapper playing a couple of songs at the Bagdad Theater.

Thorn is an overachieving American public radio show host, check and creator of not only “Jordan Jesse Go”, but the fantastic Sound of Young America.

While Mr. Thorn was in town for the Bridgetown Comedy Festival he and his crew recorded two songs by Blitzen Trapper as part of the Sound of Young America series. Check out these simple but awesome versions of “Black River Killer” and “Lady on the Water.”

‘Alive in Joburg’ Lays the Groundwork for Starter-kit Cinema

  • Posted by
  • on August 24, 2009
  • Filed in: Film

I just saw director Neill Blomkamp‘s District 9 yesterday and like most movies I pretty much knew what to expect going in. To the extent you want to save your purity for District 9 you really don’t wan’t to watch this next clip, search the 6-minute short film “Alive in Joburg.”

If you know anything about District 9, you know that Alive in Joburg” was created by Blomkamp in 2005 and after gaining some attention (including that of Peter Jackson) it got reworked into the feature film District 9.

The Dimes and the Penny Jam visit St. Cupcake

  • Posted by
  • on August 20, 2009
  • Filed in: Music

Episode 25 of our Portland music video series The Penny Jam with the Dimes is out now! The gentleman from the band don’t normally wear British military uniforms but in a stroke of good luck we caught them on the same day they had done some promotional photography and they already had the costumes. The song, herbal “Abigail Don’t Be Long” is about Abigail Adams, prostate the wife of John Adams (the second President of the United States). This song, drugs like many from the Dimes, mixes sunshine and pop hooks with historically-inspired stories; a perfect formula for our location.

When we started the podcast a year and a half ago it would have been hard to imagine that one day we would have 25 episodes out. It makes me remember the days spent trying to convince people that it was a good idea to set a band up in their store. At this point it’s basically just “check out the website” and they get it. In this case, the band’s manager Ryan, over at Pet Marmoset PR helped arrange the use of St. Cupcake, a little cafe that makes the fanciest cupcakes in the entire freaking world.

This one was mixed by our resident acoustical engineer Clem Abercrombie.

Califunya Episode 4 – The Key to My Happiness

  • Posted by
  • on August 9, 2009
  • Filed in: Film

Check out episode 4 of Califunya, visit where the girls find a giant key to happiness. Califunya is one of the series from Wieden and Kennedy Entertainment. It’s the most experimental of the group, with a sparse and confidently weird style, Califunya is in no hurry. It seems more interested in just hanging out, being adorable.