Weblog since 2004 on books, films, art and travel.
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mona lisa of the north

However beautifully evoking Vermeer's 17th century Delft light, you might not want to see the film 'Girl with a Pearl Earring'... It might just spoil her mysterious Mona Lisa of the North expression with too much postulated backstory and Scarlett Johansson-ness.

Better, perhaps, not check this amazingly in-depth website on the painting either.

Girl with a Pearl Earring

Note to self though: go see the original in the Mauritshuis.

how big is your footprint?

The Ecological Footprint Quiz is an interesting way of confronting yourself with your own lifestyle.

Ecological Footprints document a given population's consumption and waste production expressed in biologically productive land and ocean areas necessary to maintain these services.

The quiz makes this personal. In other words, how much strain do you put on the earth's resources?

By aggregating data on the consumption of various resources and on the ability of the earth to provide them, the Ecological Footprint accounts provide a means to compare various components of consumption and ultimately serve as an indicator of sustainability - or, in the case of deficits, of unsustainability.

My result: If everyone lived like me, we would need 1.8 planets.

And the weird thing is, I feel I'm doing pretty good. Only 1.8 planets!

I challenge you to try for yourself @ www.earthday.net/footprint2

the sound of zzz

Some real rock 'n roll from Amsterdam - who would've thought!

zZz ("pronounce like the French say 'Jazz', without the 'J' and 'A'..."), creates a fresh 'n sleazy racket with just organ, drums and vocals. A bit like the Doors-on-speed, or a guitarless Iggy Pop, or Death in Vegas' 'Contino Sessions', or...

Well, check for yourself @ www.soundofzzz.com

the history of sampling

Cool web project chronicling the history of sampling in music.

Check: http://jessekriss.com/projects/samplinghistory
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the ultimate anecdote

Welcome back to 1999. Jacob van Duijn's new novel 'Hyper' chronicles the height of the internet hype in Amsterdam through the eyes of a honey voiced consultant with an inflated bank account. Sound familiar? It is, and pretty funny too.

Hyper

The fast lane madness soon turns into disorientation when this hero, roused by an ephemeral dream girl, embarks on a feverish quest east in search of the ultimate anecdote, "a gutter experience" -- i.e. a hint of his own identity.

More info (in Dutch) @ www.jacobvanduijn.nl

[End of infomercial]

the beautiful confusion

Fellini's '' is one of those film classics that are probably cited more than seen. Called "the definitive film about filmmaking" by Sight & Sound, it certainly godfathered a whole genre of ironic, self-reflexive, autobiographical films-about-films. In the case of '8½', even the title plays along, referring to the number of films Fellini had made at the time. ('The Beautiful Confusion' was a working title for the project.)

El direttore

The story of '8½' is great: a successful film director (read: Fellini) is about to start production on a new film, the whole circus of cast and crew is already there, but he has writer's block and still no idea what it should be about. While he looks into his own life for inspiration, and reality and dream increasingly interweave, he is harrassed by producers, actresses and critics, to the point where he orders the only tangible set piece of the film (a giant space rocket in scaffolds) to be demolished...

Early on in the film, the director's script is criticized by a writer who says: "From the start, the action reveals a poverty of poetic inspiration" -- which is just the opposite of what you could say of '8½', especially after the memorable opening dream sequence (which, by the way, must have been an inspiration for R.E.M.'s 'Everybody Hurts' video).

More info: 'I, Fellini' - Fellini about making '8½'.