WEIRDLAND: February 2016

Friday, February 26, 2016

"Brooklyn" is Oscar-worthy, romantic clips

"One day the sun will come out, you might not even notice straight away, it will be that faint. And you will catch yourself thinking about something or someone who has no connection with the past. Someone who’s only yours. And you’ll realize that this is where your life is." -Eilis Lacey in Brooklyn

Brooklyn (2015) CLIP - "I Wanna Ask You Something" - Saoirse Ronan & Emory Cohen

"Inwardness is a great challenge for filmmakers. The human face is a wall as well as a window. Words lose their power. Ronan uses everything - her posture, her eyebrows, her breath, her teeth, her pores - to convey a process of change both seismic and subtle. Eilis is in transit, and to some degree in limbo, caught between two stages of life. By the end of Brooklyn she is no longer who she was, even as she seems like someone we always knew." -A. O. Scott

"The magic of Brooklyn can’t be analyzed, but something in the richness of its relationships puts an essential truth before us — the brevity and immensity of life. We know all about that, of course, but that’s the beauty of great art: It takes what you already know and makes you feel it." -Mick LaSalle

One film that doesn’t appear to be given much of a shot to walk away with the trophy is Brooklyn, which is a shame. Maybe it won’t win, but here’s why it should: Brooklyn isn’t the showiest film in the list of best Oscar nominees. We’re talking about a subtle, understated picture that’s quietly moving and full of meticulous period detail that fully immerses the viewer in the world of 1950s New York City.

Everything in Brooklyn revolves around Saoirse Ronan, and her Eilis is simply one of the most nuanced, fully rendered characters of the year. At the beginning of the film, she is quiet and mousey and shy, browbeaten by her evil witch of a boss in a small Irish grocery, a passive character with little to no self-determination. You scarcely see the change, until she returns to Ireland and you realize that she is an entirely different person than she was when she left. What Saoirse Ronan delivers is easily the best performance in a young, but already remarkably accomplished career, and she may very well be deserving of her own Oscar. 

While Saoirse Ronan is the star around which the rest of the galaxy of Brooklyn revolves, the unsung MVP is Emory Cohen, playing Tony Fiorello, the Brooklyn Dodgers-obsessed son of Italian immigrants, and Eilis’ love interest. Goofy and sweet, he could easily have fallen into a one-note, nice-guy role, but he brings a charm and great depth and emotion to what could have otherwise been a flat supporting turn.

Tony provides something that pulls her back, that makes her decision less simple and cut and dried. Without what he brings to the character, the key choice at the center of Brooklyn wouldn’t carry the weight it does. Regardless of how many, if any, trophies it takes home, Brooklyn is a movie that you need to take the time to see and that will continue to hold up over the years. Source:

By contrast with Horatio Alger’s ambition-driven male heroes, Eilis’ passive attitude initially makes her a difficult character to identify with. One night, asked to escort a new tenant to the church dance, Eilis meets Tony (Cohen), a working-class plumber with a thing for Irish girls. He’s the kind of guy Marlon Brando managed to capture the year prior in “A Streetcar Named Desire,” and though the role lacks Tennessee Williams’ complexity, Cohen seems no less committed in his Method-like intensity than Brando did. Tony may be a tough Italian, but he’s fallen head-over-heels for Eilis, waiting for her outside her accounting-school night classes and putting everything on the line the first time he professes his love, or the moment he takes her to Long Island to survey what could be their future home. Source:

Tony’s vulnerability and need are truly precious things, lifted from Tóibín’s warm sketch and made tenderly unforgettable in Cohen’s hands. This actor previously made a bold, riskily irritating impression as Bradley Cooper’s teenage junkie son in The Place Beyond the Pines. Anyone who wrote him off as one-note or mannered there needs to see the whole freeform sonata he plays with this part – he seems to live and breathe the role of a tough-for-show romantic, a shyly persistent and ardent young guy whose future Eilis may or may not want part of.

The baby-step ascent of his expectations is Brooklyn’s secret weapon as storytelling. When Eilis offers him the prim, throwaway gift of two further dates at the pictures, not just the one, the surge of hope and dumbstruck joy on Cohen’s face could light up every matinee screen in the land. Source:

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Revolutionaries gone too soon: Kurt Cobain, John Lennon, Buddy Holly

Kurt Cobain: “I like the Beatles, but I hate Paul McCartney. I like Led Zeppelin, but I hate Robert Plant. I like the Who, but I hate Roger Daltrey. Sometimes I wish I had taken the Bob Dylan route and sang songs where my voice would not go out on me every night.” -Roy Trakin: ‘How about Iggy and the Stooges? Velvets? Lou Reed?’ -Kurt Cobain: ‘Oh yeah, definitely. Some of my favorite music.'”

Kurt Cobain: “John Lennon was definitely my favorite Beatle. I don’t know who wrote what parts of what Beatles songs, but Paul McCarrney embarrasses me. Lennon was obviously disturbed. So I could relate to that. And from the books I’ve read — and I’m so skeptical of anything I read, especially in rock books — I just felt really sorry for him. To be locked up in that apartment. Although he was totally in love with Yoko and his child, his life was a prison. That’s the crux of the problem that I’ve had with becoming a celebrity. John Lennon has been my idol all my life but he’s dead wrong about revolution… find a representative of gluttony or oppression and blow the motherfuckers [sic] head off.”

Kurt Cobain: “The other day I was driving around in L.A. listening to a college station. They were playing a lot of my favorite bands, like Flipper and The Melvins. I was saying to myself, This is great. And then the DJ came on and went on this half-hour rant about how Nirvana is so obviously business oriented and just because we have colored hair doesn’t mean we’re alternative. And I felt really terrible. Because there is nothing in the world I like more than pure underground music. And to be shunned by this claim that just because you are playing the corporate game you are not honest! You use [the corporate ogre] to your advantage. You fight them by joining them.” Source:

Any time a great artist dies young and unexpectedly, as fans we often spend our own remaining years wondering what would’ve been, had they just stayed with us longer. Previous generations mourned rockers like Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and John Lennon, while those who grew up in the ’80s and ’90s had our own fallen heroes – from metal gods like Ozzy Osbourne virtuoso Randy Rhoads and Metallica‘s Cliff Burton to Sublime‘s Bradley Nowell, Blind Melon‘s Shannon Hoon and of course, Kurt Cobain. The Nirvana frontman and grunge icon would’ve turned 49 today had he not allegedly committed suicide in 1994, and his legacy continues to burn brightly more than two decades after his passing. Source:

Buddy Holly was a pioneer and a revolutionary. What has always set his persona apart from others in the rock 'n' roll pantheon is its air of maturity, sympathy and understanding. In the few hectic months of his heyday, between 1957 and 1959, he threw back the boundaries of rock 'n' roll, gave substance to its shivery shadow, transformed it from a chaotic cul-de-sac to a highway of infinite possibility and promise. The truth is that Buddy Holly’s talent developed at a speed that makes the maturing of John Lennon and Paul McCartney, half a dozen years later, seem slow by comparison. As a songwriter, performer and musician, Holly is acknowledged as the progenitor of virtually every world-class rock talent to emerge in the sixties and seventies: The Beatles, the Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan... —"Rave On: The Biography of Buddy Holly" (2014) by Philip Norman 

Wednesday, February 03, 2016

Buddy Holly: The Last Day of a Rock Legend

Honoring the 57th anniversary of the plane crash that took the lives of Buddy Holly, The Big Bopper, and Ritchie Valens. It provides three radio promos recorded by the artists themselves that advertise their last tour. Then, two newscasts of the plane crash that happened on Feb. 3, 1959 during that same tour.

BUDDY HOLLY KILLED IN UNEXPLAINED PLANE CRASH: On this day in 1959, rock and roll legend Buddy Holly was killed when his plane slammed into an Iowa cornfield in a blinding snow storm. Ritchie Valens and disc jockey "The Big Bopper" died with him. They were in the middle of the "Winter Dance Party" tour, flying to their next date in Minnesota. No one is exactly sure what went wrong.

Holly may be best known for his iconic black-framed glasses, which were chosen for the singer by optometrist J. David Armistead. Armistead later went on to serve as a board member at the University of Houston. Those same glasses were among the items that went missing in the plane crash, until they were found in a Mason City, Iowa cornfield on February 29, 1980. Holly's glasses and a number of other artifacts are now on display at the Buddy Holly Center in Lubbock, Texas. Source: Eyewitnessnews

The Last Day: A look at the final day of a Rock n' Roll legend.

Bill Griggs: Ellis Amburn ("Buddy Holly - A Biography") and Philip Norman ("Buddy Holly – Rave On") came to me within a few months of each other. They each received the same information available at that time. When their respective books were published, it seemed they wrote about two different people. How can that be? By the way, Amburn's book really belongs in the trash can. Still the best overall read in my opinion is the one by John Goldrosen. Philip Norman had access to much of the newly discovered paperwork from Clovis. Larry Lehmer discovered some brand new facts. Amburn was interviewed on English radio shortly after it came out. He was asked what places he went to in Lubbock and who he talked to. His reply was, "I didn't go to Lubbock." So where and how did he get his information?

Lance Monthly: The Boston rock ‘n’ roll riots in 1958, which came about from the reported violence at one of Alan Freed’s shows, not only led to the decline of Alan Freed himself, but the damnation of rock ‘n’ roll with FBI Director, J. Edgar Hoover leading the charge. What are your thoughts on this?

Bill Griggs: Alan Freed took the dive for Boston, and shouldn't have. He ultimately left New York, and after gigs in Florida and California, found himself totally out of work. He died, they say, of a broken heart. Did payola kill rock 'n' roll, as we knew it? Probably. The whole era was exciting because, musically, we had all those independent producers and record labels and almost anyone with a good song--and some with bad songs--could get a record released. After payola, this sorta changed and the majority of those independent producers and labels all but disappeared. The movie "American Hot Wax" really captured the feeling of an Alan Freed concert and a great quote came out of that movie. When the police were trying to shut down his concert, Tim McIntire (as Alan Freed) stated, "You can stop the concert. You can stop me... but you can't stop rock 'n' roll. Don't you know that?"

Lance Monthly: Did you have a chance to meet and interview Waylon Jennings before he passed away? What was your impression of him, and why did Holly pick him to play bass on his final tour when it seems that he could have easily found a musician with better bass skills?

Bill Griggs: I knew Waylon and we got along just fine. Each time we'd talk about Buddy, a smile would come over his face, and then he'd get serious. You see, after all those years had gone by, he still fondly remembered his mentor--the person who really believed in him. I was talking to Waylon in 1979 just before he gave a concert in Lubbock. I asked him if he was going to sing his song "Old Friend" that mentions Buddy. He got very serious, then his tears welled up and he said, "Bill, if I did that, I wouldn't be able to get past the first verse."

Lance Monthly: In Ellis Amburn’s Holly biography, he states that when Ed Sullivan invited Holly back for a third appearance on Ed’s show for double the pay, Buddy refused because of Sullivan’s "wrecking of "Oh Boy" during his previous appearance. What are your thoughts on this?

Bill Griggs: Although I have many problems with things that Mr. Amburn wrote, this part is true. When Buddy and his group was in rehersal for his second appearance on January 26, 1958, Ed Sullivan told him that the show was going to run long and Buddy would have to do only one song. Sullivan then informed Buddy that "Oh Boy" was "too raunchy" and that Buddy should do something else. Buddy told Ed Sullivan that he had promised his friends back home that he'd do "Oh Boy," so it would be that song or nothing. Ed Sullivan introduced Buddy as Buddy Hollard. To get even, during the break of the song, Buddy and the guys double-timed their playing and played as loud as they could. What you don't see is what happened as soon as the song was completed and the Crickets exited the stage. The camera went back to Ed Sullivan and he was mad! He looked as if he had swallowed a bird. The Ed Sullivan staff did call Buddy about making a third appearance and he said no. When they called back, Buddy was offered double the money for a third appearance. Buddy angrily said something like, "I don't need you or your show" and hung up. Source:

“There’s not a week that goes by that I don’t play my Buddy Holly's songs.” —Keith Richards, “Buddy Holly: Rave On” DVD

Tuesday, February 02, 2016

Buddy Holly "Because I Love You" video

Buddy Holly "Because I Love You" video: soundtrack "I'm gonna love you too", "Love is Strange", "Dearest", "Because I Love You".

Buddy Holly was the first of the dead rock stars. Had it been Elvis Presley in that plane, the pop world would have been shaken to its core, but would it have been so surprised? Holly was almost the anti-Elvis. Holly had the demeanour of the boy next door, which is what made his death so truly shocking. There was no brooding foreboding in his music, which breathed with rhythmic zing, melodic air. He was innocence crushed, potential stamped out. Holly is such a compelling figure of tragedy because he embodies the terrible truth that death comes to everyone. 

Holly was the first complete artist in the modern way. There is almost nothing to the lyric of Peggy Sue, yet his variations are like a comedic dare, constantly returning to the core phrase to invest it with another level of desire.

Bob Dylan was hugely inspired by Holly, catching a glimpse of his own possible future in this small-town geek. In American Pie, Don McLean characterised the plane crash as the day the music died, but really, it is what has kept the music alive. Eternally fixed in his first surge of creative brilliance, Buddy Holly raves on for ever. Source:

Paul Westerberg & others remembering Buddy Holly: Seeds were sown in a frozen corn field in Iowa and reaped in Northern England. Buddy Holly was a crack-up, a rocker, a goof, an oddball Texan. He stood up to the industry during a time in which everyone else laid down. In the final moments of a 1957 interview, Buddy Holly responds: "I'd prefer singing somethin' a little more quieter anyhow." You can almost hear him smile as he says it. In the reserved tone of his answer, we hear this young man honestly and softly proclaiming what anyone can hear in the undying warmth of his recordings: Buddy Holly was meant to sing the true love song. You know, most of the rock 'n' roll that came out had that sort of Dionysian, sex-drugs-and-rock-and-roll image, or that tone that was about danger, and all that Buddy Holly stuff was way more about vulnerability. Because it wasn't music that was built on self destruction, it probably would've been quite limitless what he could've done. You didn't have to have a very high reading level to understand Buddy Holly's music. Yet, it was brilliant, and it evoked emotions. I think that's the best thing about any music: that it evokes emotion. Source: