Brian Wilson + Jeff Beck, Sony Centre, Toronto 26.10.13

October 27, 2013

BW+JB stage 26.10.13This was a marvelous, even astonishing, concert – a marriage of experimentalism and pure pop genius. Some delights: multi-part vocal harmonies layered in Beck instrumentals; and Beck’s guitar replacing lead vocal parts on passages of Wilson’s masterwork “Smile.” I suspect some critics will attack the concept as just too loopy. I wouldn’t agree.

Beck remains a guitar powerhouse. His “Little Wing” and “A Day in the Life” will reverberate in my ears and soul for many a day to come.

The erstwhile Beach Boys Al Jardine and David L. Marks added a distinctive flavour to sometimes  seven part harmonies by the 11 piece band doing BB classics. during the Wilson set.  This band just flat rocks out and sings beautifully. The late Dennis Wilson’s “Little Bird”, sung by Marks, and a heavy duty “Sail on Sailor” with Brian Wilson in full rock ‘n roll voice were highlights.

The bands combined for about 45 minutes of a concert that was well over 2 hours in length. The challenging material worked best. It would have been great to hear Jeff Beck on some of Wilson’s re-interpretations of Gershwin tunes. Also, it disappointed mildly that Beck did not essay the classic instrumentals from “Pet Sounds”.

Overall however, this was a musical night to remember. Two legends surrounded by brilliant musicians finding new means to challenge each other and satisfy a very appreciative audience.

John Fahey documentary UPDATE Autumn 2013

October 3, 2013

Autumnal Greetings from Tamarack Productions World HQ!!!

Pleased to offer this wee update on the continuing progress of In Search of Blind Joe Death – The Saga of John Fahey

This evening the film screens for a fourth time in the past year in London, UK  at Goldsmiths, University of London. The film will be followed by live music and a discussion with a music journalist and anthropologist.

The film appears at WOMEX World Music Expo in Cardiff, Wales, Oct. 23-27.

The doc is slated for broadcast by BBC4 in December.

The USA theatrical release continues with upcoming screenings in California, Massachusetts, New Mexico and North Carolina. (We at World HQ are particularly excited about the Albuquerque screening – that city is also the title of our favourite Neil Young song!) Our John Fahey film is screened in tandem with Approximately Nels Cline, a  fine film about the guitarist Cline.
http://www.firstrunfeatures/guitarinnovators

An Italian tour of the film begins in Rome on November 14 and Udine on December 13 with a Verona screening date TBA.

We will soon confirm dates for screenings in Pune, India. Stay tuned.

The film appears this month in Montevideo, Uruguay as it continues its journey with BAFICI Itinerante, a touring best of Festival from BAFICI 2013 (Buenos Aires Festival of Independent Cinema) where the film had its South American premiere in April.

Closer to home, the film will screen at Toronto Reel Indie Film Festival RiFF on October 19.

The DVD with extras including performances by Fahey, Chris Funk of The Decemberists, vinyl maven Joe Bussard and an extended interview segment with Pete Townshend will be available in mid-November.
Canada – VTape
USA – First Run Features
Other territories –  Tamarack Productions

We salute you!

Happy trails,
James Cullingham
director/producer
In Search of Blind Joe Death – The Saga of John Fahey
http://www.johnfaheyfilm.com
Facebook http://on.fb.me/faheyfilm
Twitter @JohnFaheyfilm
http://www.tamarackproductions.com

John Fahey film opening in NYC 16/08/13

August 7, 2013
COME SEE OUR FILM IN NEW YORK CITY!!! “In Search of Blind Joe Death – The Saga of John Fahey” starts its American theatrical run at Cinema Village in Greenwich Village August 16-22. Our effort is twinned with a boffo film about guitarist Nels Cline.
If you’re in NYC, I hope to see you over the weekend of the 16th. If you’re not in those environs, please tell every living soul you know near NYC about it!!! If you’re aware of a potential USA booking, contact Paul Marchant paul@firstrunfeatures.com Please “friend” the page on Facebook http://on.fb.me/faheyfilm and Twitter away @JohnFaheyFilm Here’s the skinny on the USA release:

http://firstrunfeatures.com/guitarinnovators/

Ciao,

James Cullingham

director.producer,executive producer In Search of Blind Joe Death – The Saga of John Fahey

Tamarack Productions, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, Planet Earth.

 

 

Blind Joe Death Goes Abroad

March 11, 2013

In Search of Blind Joe Death – The Saga of John Fahey, Tamarack Productions documentary film about the late American guitarist, composer, author and provocateur, continues to gain international attention. In April, the film will have its South American premiere at the Buenos Aires Festival of Independent Cinema (BAFICI) and will also screen at the Belfast Film Festival in Northern Ireland. Last month, it was shown at the Glasgow Film Festival.

In the summer, the film will screen in Madrid at the Transmissions Film and Music Festival; at La chaise (les tabourets) in Paris; and in Copenhagen at the Danish Film Institute/Cinematheque. It will also be featured at the Revelation Perth Film Festival in Australia. Additional screenings are anticipated in Australia.

This follows a string of screenings in Canada, the United Kingdom and the United States. Blind Joe Death had its world premiere at Raindance Film Festival in London; its Canadian premiere at Vancouver International Film Festival; and the USA premiere at Mill Valley Film Festival near San Francisco. The film will be shown on BBC next autumn. In Canada, it will be broadcast by networks of Blue Ant Media. The film was produced with the creative participation of  the School of Creative Arts and Animation of Seneca College of Toronto

Fahey (1939-2001) is known as the godfather of American primitive guitar. His approach to blues, Brazilian, Appalachian, European classical, Gothic industrial ambiance and Indian music influenced many musicians including Pete Townshend of The Who, Joey Burns of Calexico and Chris Funk of The Decemberists who all appear in the film.

Canadian distribution: V Tape. USA: First Run Features. UK/Europe/Australia bookings: a better noise, Newcastle upon Tyne.

For further information contact:

James Cullingham director/producer

James.tamarack@rogers.com (416)312-1841

www.johnfaheyfilm.com

Facebook http://on.fb.me/faheyfilm

Twitter @JohnFaheyFilm

 

Best of 2012

December 22, 2012

This is somewhat random in that the following is restricted to what I saw and read. So while this is hardly an exhaustive selection, I suggest all these works merit our careful attention.

If you’ll indulge me further, here’s the best of what I saw or read in 2012:

Best feature film: “The Master”, dir. Paul Thomas Anderson; strong runner-up “Argo” ,dir. Ben Affleck (the new Clint Eastwood).

Best non-fiction film: “Cuates de Australia” dir, Everardo Gonz (“Drought” en inglés) – a documentary about a community in northern México besieged by drought and globalization; runner-up “The Law In These Parts” dir. Ra’anan Alexandrowicz – a courageous, intellectually rigorous film in which the director stages a devastatingly clever mock trial of the very Israeli jurists and military governors who have built ‘legal’ bulwarks to justify Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories since 1967.

Best Fiction Book: “War and Peace”, Leo Tolstoy. I finally read it this year. Having done so, I figure it would be the best novel any year since Leo coughed it up in 1869 except perhaps “Madame Bovary” or “Oliver Twist”. Tolstoy manages to describe the most intimate and sweeping epochal events of human experience simultaneously. He was a genius. His novel about Napoleon’s doomed invasion of Russia reads like an account of current events.

Best Non-Fiction book: “A Geography of Blood – Unearthing Memory from a Prairie Landscape”, by Candace Savage. The sort of  history/geography/environmental study Canadians and Americans generally don’t want to know about told with great verve. In this case, people are reading it. Ms. Savage is winning awards. Her slim, powerful, elegantly written and researched effort is truly mind expanding.  “There are a lot of things nobody talks about in the imposition of colonial power.” -Keith Bell, companion of Candace Savage-

Walter Lewis Robbins, 1926-2012 Long may he run!

July 23, 2012

Walter Lewis Robbins died on Wednesday, July 18 2012 in a Kingston, Ontario hospice. He was lovingly surrounded by his family.

Walter was my father-in-law. I admire him hugely. Walter was an unrepentant social democrat, a wondrous fiddler, an environmentalist, husband, father and grandfather.

Walt and the family moved to Canada from Washington D.C. after the election of Richard Nixon. He had served as a civil servant in the Kennedy and Johnson administrations. In Winnipeg, he first put his War on Poverty experience to work for the NDP government of Ed Schreyer. Walter Robbins was among those gifted, left-leaning Americans of conscience who came to Canada during the Nixon and Vietnam war eras. He made a significant contribution to Canada where he lived for 40 years.

He was a wonderful father-in-law to me. Thank-you, Walter. Peace and love.

Robbie Roberston “how to become clairvoyant”

May 31, 2012

Overdue, but what the heck, good music always deserves a nod:

Regarding Robbie Robertson’s CD from last year, “how to become clairvoyant” – after a careful listening or six, what’s revealed, to me, at least: “When The Night Was Young” just might be his best post-Band song; “Tango for Django” is great. I wish he’d make an instrumental album! At the same time, it must be said that his singing throughout is often quite affecting, even just right. For those who grew up with the tremendous vocal solo work by his mates and harmonization in The Band, who knew? Finally, I’m delighted to report that Robertson finally nixed the gauze-like production value that mars some of his earlier solo work. I can hear his guitars!!!! Pick on Robbie, pick on!

Commander in chief Obama

April 19, 2012

This week’s stunning new from Los Angeles Times (www. latimes.com) about American military personnel apparently posing for ‘zombie’ photos with the body parts of dead Afghan insurgents is part of a sad pattern. That being the consistent abuse of power by various branches of the American military and intelligence community under Obama’s watch.

In the summer of 2010, Rolling Stone exposed the weirdly derisive and even disloyal behaviour of then American commander in Afghanistan Stanley McChrystal. That cost McChrystal his job and ended his military career after a brief, unpleasant tete a tete with the President.

In the last number of months, there have been further stories of American military and intelligence malfeasance: urinating on bodies and burning Korans in Afghanistan…Secret Service types allegedly caught with prostitutes in Colombia.

Barack Obama has striven mightily to counter the false perception that his Democrats are soft on foreign policy and America’s military stance. A 30,000 person surge in Afghanistan, a massive expansion of drone attacks on ‘terrorist hideouts’ as well as the killing of Osama bin Laden in allied Pakistan all attest to that. However, what is striking, and perhaps harmful to Obama’s on-going re-election campaign, is this disturbing pattern of misbehavior.  One wonders if it is causing some long nights and misgivings among Obama’s campaign team.

An Open Letter to Loaf Fans

April 6, 2012

Item:  Toronto Maple Loafs fail to make the Stanley Cup playoffs for the 7th consecutive year.

Memo to Loaf fans in the so-called ‘Loaf Nation’: it is SERIOUSLY time to get a life. Believe this: the team will not win a Stanley Cup in your lifetimes; heck, it might not even make the playoffs. A proposed cure – anytime you want to root for the Loafs think of 300 pound+ Toronto Mayor Rob Ford naked. Then move on.

PS If you are a self confessed member of Loaf Nation and you voted for Ford, there is probably no hope for your recovery.

UPDATE: Toronto the Ugly

February 22, 2012

So Mayor Rob Ford got a lesson from city council about public transit that he didn’t like: it’s impossible to have anything approaching a twenty-first century system relying exclusively on subway expansion. The Mayor wants roads for cars alone.

Having been taught a lesson, Ford lashed back with a political lynching. Top public transit civil servant Gary Webster was ousted by Ford acolytes in an absolutely unseemly procedure. This after Ford deemed council’s view on transit “irrelevant”.

Toronto is now a city in which bullying and intimidation of loyal, effective civil servants is politically acceptable. That means dark days indeed for democracy .