the real batman

Last night / early this morning I went to see the opening of Batman: The Dark Knight along with my lady and her cousins.  When I saw Batman Begins, it really blew me away, so I was expecting a lot.  My review of The Dark Knight is thus: 1) it’s really loooong; 2) it’s not nearly as good as Batman Begins; 3) it’s really loooong.  The thing I loved about Batman Begins was it was a really great human story with rich character and plot development, which just happened to be in the vehicle of an exciting superhero movie.  I can’t really say the same about The Dark Knight, but the new film does seem to have a larger quantity of dazzling fight scenes, although that may be just because it’s so loooong.

Anyways, I just watched this amazing (and dare I say historic) speech that Al Gore gave yesterday, and it just dawned on me that Al Gore is like the real life Batman.  Here’s this dude that was almost (and in actuality) elected President, who decided to screw running for elected positions and step outside of that realm to do something more pertinent, like save the world.   That’s pretty tight.  Now he’s this free agent who runs around making brief public appearances, consulting scientists, and fighting thugs (the oil industry).  They really should give him a bat suit, I think he’d look good making speeches in it.  Check out the video, it’s worth it.

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Published in: on July 18, 2008 at 4:12 pm  Comments (1)  

lotus position, pt. 2

This is not another entry about Flying Lotus.  This is about last Friday’s gig with the “GF3+2.”  GF3+2 is the slighly mathematical moniker that Gary Fukushima gives his band when his trio (in this case with me on drums and JP Maramba on bass) is augmented by the talents of 2 more members: Josh Welchez on trumpet and Matt Otto on tenor sax.

This Friday evening gig was for the opening night of the Lotus Festival, which takes place every year at Echo Park Lake, coinciding with the blossoming of the lotus flower.  I had never hung out at the lake–just driven by–and for some reason I imagined there would be a whole grip of blossoming lotus flowers floating along the water everywhere.  Well, I didn’t see a single lotus but I did see a big shiny dragon on a float, which, unlike parade floats, was literally floating in the water.  There were also tons of vendor booths lining the lake (which is way bigger when you’re actually walking around it), though not of them were occupied yet since it was only Friday.  I had a lot of time to hang out because load-in for sound check was at 2pm and we weren’t scheduled to play until 8pm!

The two acts before us, solo guitarist Goh Kurosawa, and the Juan Trujillo Group from Cal State Northridge, both gave wonderful performances.  I think our performance went really well, and the sound was unusually good for an outdoor jazz venue.  The weather was perfect and playing as the sun went down over the park was very picturesque.  The best part was that as soon as we finished, the started a fireworks show over the lake.

Thanks to LeRoy Downs for being a greaet emcee, thanks to my grandma and rest of the family for coming out to the show, and thanks to my lady for bringing her family and dog to see us play.  Here’s a live recording from the show, an original composition by Josh Welchez called “Square in the Circles”:

Published in: on July 15, 2008 at 2:05 am  Comments (1)  

me: 1, grandma: 40

Over a year ago I worked on composing a score for my friend Tad Nakamura’s documentary, Pilgrimage, about the annual pilgrimage to the Manzanar WWII Japanese American internment camp.  As the back of the DVD more eloquently describes it: “with a hip music track and never-before-seen archival footage, Pilgrimage tells how an abandoned WWII concentration camp for Japanese Americans was transformed into a symbol of retrospection and solidarity for people of all ages, races and nationalities in our post 9/11 world.”  Anyways, Tad as usual did an amazing job on the doc, and the film went on to get official selection at the Sundace Film Festival.

Earlier this year Tad told me he entered the film in a new tiny film festival called “Show off your Short,” and that I got nominated for Best Composer.  And then a few months later he tells me… I won!  So at the latest Mouse Kills Tiger show, Tad texts me and says “yo, I’m coming to the show and I’m bringing your award!”  I expected he would hand me some little Kinko’s-printed certificate, but he hands me this:

Maybe now I can put it on display next to my grandma’s wall of about 40 golf trophies:

I was laughing at how prestigious the award looks and how ackward I feel receiving it, considering there’s a lot of really great non-score songs that Tad included in the film that I had no part in creating.  But hey, I’ll take what I can get!

Published in: on July 6, 2008 at 11:29 pm  Comments (1)