No Photocopier Stomping Here

Ten years later, people everywhere are still quoting the sharp dialogue and witty one-liners of Mike Judge’s first feature length film, Office Space, but the only thing people in Ithaca may remember about their trip to the theater on Saturday to watch Judge’s newest flick, Extract, was how loud and excessive the two people in the middle row laughed throughout the entire film. Sure the movie had its funny moments, but none deserving more than a chuckle. Certainly not the hysterical laughter the middle row was providing them. No, Extract won’t go down in history as one of the worst movies ever, it will just become one of those “forgotten” movies that get subconsciously passed over in Blockbuster.

Lots of Love — Not a Lot of Reality

People with disabilities are portrayed quite callously in the movies: Cliff Robertson’s portrayal of Charlie Gordon in Charly, Dustin Hoffman’s Raymond Babbitt in Rain Man, Leonardo DiCaprio’s Arnie Grape in What’s Eating Gibert Grape?, Tom Hanks’ Forrest Gump and Sean Penn’s less successful title character in I Am Sam. As Robert Downey Jr. also brashly points out in Tropic Thunder, playing a handicapped individual in a serious drama is a sure way to get an Oscar nomination. Not to say the above stated roles were in any way throwaway performances — quite the contrary. Still, it’s best to approach films with such a scenery-chewing centerpiece with caution.

Searching For Meaning

Contemplating the concept of existence leaves room for many questions. What does it mean to exist? Is there a difference between living and being alive? What is happiness? We can define what it means to be alive, at least in the scientific sense: we breathe to pump oxygen to our hearts; we consume nutrients to keep our bodies functioning. But, in order to define the existential state of living, we must go beyond this corporal aspect, something that may require personal will and enlightenment. You, the Living a Swedish film playing at Cornell Cinema this weekend, is a somewhat surrealist attempt to illustrate “the living,” people who are alive but who tread a fine line between dream and reality, between being alive and being something else altogether.

Test Spin: Pitbull

“I’m not bi, I’m tri … I’ll try anything.” With this bold pronouncement, guest artist Ke$ha announces her flirtatious nature on a track from Pitbull’s fourth studio effort, Rebelution. The album is in the same vein as the rapper’s previous efforts — while Pitbull stays true to his Latin hip-hop roots, he also experiments with different modes of dance, which results in an album that is always surprising and entertaining.

Test Spin: Bowerbirds

Hailing from North Carolina, the Bowerbirds further develop their folk-inspired sound on their sophomore album, Upper Air. Phil Moore and Beth Tacular’s stirring lyrical duets and complicated harmonies are enhanced by the band’s effortless acoustics and the help of Matt Damron on percussion. A blend of accordion, guitar and bass drum, the trio produces authentic and original songs that embody the spirit of the beautiful landscape in which they live.

Test Spin: Imogen Heap

This is an album worth $20 million.
When a promotional CD of Imogen Heap’s Ellipse went up for bids on eBay, Heap herself agreed to pay a record-breaking €10,000,000 for the disc in an attempt to close the auction.

I Predict a Riot!

Hey music lovers! Swine flu got you down? Never fear! We’ve got just the thing for you: Indie dance-rock maestros Ra Ra Riot, in concert at Castaways tonight at 9 p.m.! (Side effects may include head-bobbing, foot-tapping, uncontrollable laughing and crazy dancing. In some cases, these side effects may be severe. Please contact a medical professional for a foot-tap lasting more than four hours.) (Swine flu not included.)

Memories of a Master

When Cornell senior dance lecturer Jim Self heard the news of Merce Cunningham’s death, he was unmoored. “As a teacher, choreographer and person, Merce has been very imprinted on me. I knew he wasn’t there.”
After Merce Cunningham, the revolutionary American choreographer and foremost figure of artistic modernism, died in late June at age 90, his death prompted the dance community at Cornell to contemplate his legacy and influence on memnbers of the department. Some have spoken about the deep loss they have felt — often, despite their only brief encounters with the man.

It's a Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood

Whether you’re a freshman, senior or Cornell employee, at some time or other it should become blatantly apparent that Ithaca has an incredible music scene. In my three years on the Hill I’ve tried my best to experience all parts of said scene.
Last year, one music event captivated my heart more than any other that I’ve come across. This event was Porchfest and, luckily, it’s an annual festival that will be taking place again this upcoming weekend, on Sunday.

Ithaca Heartbeats

Here’s the thing about falling in love with a city: it’s all about the complexity. The richness of a place lets the relationship linger and grow over time — people are myriad and varied, the food varieties are endless, the music is always bumpin’.
Sunday was the second of two days of co-sponsored events brought about by Dan Smalls Presents and funded by Ithaca Beer Co. While Brew Fest is widely lauded — if upstate New York constitutes “widely” — Positive Jam is an event that has yet to grow to full maturity. Although it’s less attended and less publicized, I felt on Sunday that I was at the beginning of something big whose potential had not yet been realized.