Across The Universe

March 27, 2008 at 3:27 pm (Uncategorized)

So I mentioned this movie in my first post, but haven’t gone back to it until now.

For anyone that hasn’t seen the movie, Across The Universe is, above all else, hard to describe. It’s kind of something you just have to see. However, I’ll attempt to give a brief synopsis.

The movie follows a group of characters, whose names are all taken from Beatles songs. The main character is Jude (who looks suspiciously like Paul McCartney). He immigrates illegally from Liverpool to America to find his biological father. When he gets there, he befriends Max, an Ivy-league dropout, and falls in love with his sister, Lucy (who’s boyfriend just died in the Vietnam War). The three move out to New York City and live as bohemians with Janis Joplin-esque Sadie, Jimi Hendrix-esque Jojo, and Prudence, an ex-cheerleading lesbian. While Lucy becomes a peace activist, Jude works as an artist. The characters experience various ups and downs, and the movie gives a psychadelic take on the unstable political landscape of the mid to late 60’s. All the while singing, I might add, as the movie is a musical.

Some of my favorite covers included were “Because,” “Revolution,” “Hey Jude,” “Across the Universe,” Something,” and “Strawberry Fields Forever.” They were used in unique ways that I had never thought of before. For example, “She’s So Heavy” was used in correlation with Max, who ends up being drafted for the war. Uncle Sam is the one saying “I want you” (literally, he pops out of a poster) and soldiers are shown carrying the statue of liberty, singing “she’s so heavy.”

Like the rest of the movie, this scene is pretty symbolic. I interpreted each character as representing different influential people in the 1960’s, and the overall thing as a (trippy) representation of that time period, which was one of the craziest of all American history (especially in 1968).

Now, for those that haven’t seen it, I say trippy because, well, its just freaking trippy. The best example I can give is the end credits – the characters are underwater, naked, and in a crazy technicolor that keeps changing. The movie is strongly tied to the counterculture, which is strongly tied to hallucinogens. The effects are great.

The movie is a must because it is just good. Don’t let the musical thing freak you out (guys) because it consists of well-done Beatles covers. But especially for Beatles fans, this will rock your world. So go see it if you haven’t already.

(The underwater technicolor hookup)

(The Strawberries represent soldiers in the movie)

(I’ll never look at Uncle Sam the same again)

(Some famous co-stars…How does Bono end up in everything??)


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John Lennon

March 12, 2008 at 3:11 pm (Uncategorized)

For my JT210 class, we were required to write an obituary of someone famous, which led to some research about John Lennon. I found out a lot of interesting things I didn’t know before, and I thought I’d share them.

  • Elvis was the most musically influential artist in Lennon’s life, but after he (Elvis) joined the army, Lennon believed he wasn’t ever the same.
  • Lennon’s parents were divorced early in his childhood, and his mom was killed in a car accident when he was 18.
  • Lennon was married and became a father when he was 22. At this time, Beatlemania was just beginning to take off, so his wife Cynthia and son Julian were kept secret to make Lennon more appealing to teenage girls.
  • Lennon was more than just a singer, guitarist and songwriter. He also published a bestselling book, In His Own Write, starred in multiple films, and was an exhibiting visual artist.
  • Lennon and his second wife, Yoko Ono, celebrated their wedding by having a “bed-in” in Amsterdam to protest the war and promote peace.
  • Lennon and Ono were allowed visas into the U.S. to partake in “primal scream” therapy
  • Lennon and Ono had a son, Sean Ono Lennon.
  • John Lennon was shot and killed by a deranged fan outside of his apartment building in New York City on Dec. 8, 1980. He was 40 years old.
  • Ono revealed a memorial tower on what would have been Lennon’s 67th birthday. A beam of light radiates from a well with the message “Imagine Peace” in 24 languages.

What a talented and interesting man!

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Born in the flood

March 7, 2008 at 12:03 pm (Uncategorized)

So my friend Alan sent me a Born in the flood CD a month or so ago. I had never heard of this band, but he said he had “a metaphysical religious experience” when he saw them play (which is funny because he’s a pretty straight-laced guy…so they had to have been good). As it turns out, I liked their music a lot, and actually saw them play at Hodi’s Half Note last Friday. And yes, they were great.

The reason I am including them in this post is that they have a definite Sgt. Pepper’s feel to some of their songs. The song I am thinking of specifically is “A Day in the Life,” towards the end of the album. Both are haunting and melodic. The lead singer of Born in the flood, Nathaniel Rateliff, has a voice reminiscent of the Beatles at times , which also contributes to a similar sound.

Born in the flood is a Denver-based band. Rateliff and his friend Joseph Pope III are originally from Missouri. They moved out to Denver doing volunteer work for the homeless when they met up with Mike Hall and Matt Fox, and then Born in the flood was, erm, born. The band’s EP, “If This Thing Should Spill,” was released in 2007 under Morning After Records. (And is very good, I might add).

Now. Since I keep mentioning Sgt Pepper’s, I thought I’d throw in a little background on the album.

It was released on June 1, 1967. This was a few years after the Beatles had made it big in the U.K. and the U.S., and they were beginning to evolve away from the 50’s Elvis-y sound to something a bit more…psychedelic. It is speculated that, along with much of the American hippie counterculture, the Beatles were partaking in the use of marijuana, acid, and other drugs. There was even controversy over their album because of some drug references. One of these was in “A Little Help From My Friends,” during which they sing, “I get by with a little help from my friends, I get high with a little help from my friends.” Also, the song “Lucy In the Sky with Diamonds” is believed to be about LSD.

Probably the most interesting part of this multidimensional album is the cover art. It consists of the band and a group of their heroes and role models standing in what appears to be a garden. Some of the featured role models are Karl Jung, Edgar Allen Poe, Marilyn Monroe, Fred Astaire, Karl Marx, George Bernard Shaw, Albert Einstein, and Shirley Temple. The Beatles wished to include some other figures, such as Jesus, Hitler, Elvis and Gandhi, but they were taken out for political or religious reasons.

 For more info on Sgt Pepper’s, this was a helpful site.

The cover is well-recognized, and many have played off of it. Here are some spoofs that I thought were funny.

(the original)

(Frank Zappa’s version)
   (The Simpsons)

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