September 27, 2004

Tiki Art Now!

Still in full recovery mode after last week's steamboat trip, Tuesday night I leapt at the opportunity to join Carol and Dan for a viewing of Pen-Ek Ratanaruang's extraordinary Last Life in the Universe. Starring Tadanobu Asano as a young man who contemplates suicide every chance he gets, the film is both tragedy and comedy, though the mood never becomes too dark or too light. The tone remains perfect throughout, in no small part thanks to Christopher Doyle's incredible dreamlike cinematography. Any film that references both Wong Kar-Wai and Takashi Miike is all right by me, especially when Miike himself makes a cameo.

Wednesday evening I was feeling a little under the weather, and Aimee kindly took pity on me and brought me Bubba Ho-tep on DVD. Elvis Presley finds himself living out his final days in a rest home that has unfortunately become prey to a soul-sucking mummy, and the King figures he has to take matters into his own hands, even if he can't get very far without his walker. Directed by Don "Beastmaster" Coscarelli, starring Bruce "Evil Dead" Campbell, and based on a story by comic book writer Joe R. Lansdale, this movie is a fangirl's wet dream, complete with awful low-budget special effects. I thought it was great.

I'm actually much more embarrassed about the fact that I really liked Cats & Dogs when I watched it late Friday night, but I'm always a sucker for a good talking animal movie, especially when Jeff Goldblum is at his zany best as a distracted scientist father. This is no Babe, mind you, but it was dry and clever enough to have me laughing out loud. A lot. I'll just ignore the fact they made the kitties the bad guys.

Saturday afternoon I made a quick run over to the city to see the Tiki Art Now! show at the Shooting Gallery. Regarding the room chock full of carved tiki gods and scantily dressed wahines, I was pleasantly reminded of time spent at Disneyland's Tiki Room listening to the birds sing words and the flowers croon. I was highly tempted to buy a limited-edition plastic tiki mug from the MunkTiki Vending Machine at the front of the gallery from which to sip a fruity beverage at a later date, but I instead stepped away in order to admire Leslie Marlene Siegel's black-and-white photo montage of Polynesian-themed apartment complexes.

I could not linger for long because I had to make it back to Berkeley in time to see the Pixies at the Greek Theater later that evening. Carrie had decreed that the band was playing specifically in honor of her birthday, and a huge group of us decided we needed to join her to help her celebrate. The Pixies did not disappoint. I bounced up and down like a crazy thing to "Here Comes Your Man," sighed wistfully during "Where Is My Mind?" and noted that Kim Deal is still one of my favorite bass players ever. Instead of leaving the stage before their encore the band simply stood at the front of the crowd and accepted the roars of adulation with their hands held high. I've had a Pixies sticker on my car since high school but it was the first time I'd ever seen them live. And, as John pointed out, now I can say I saw them on their first reunion tour.


Last Life in the Universe
Bubba Ho-tep
Cats & Dogs
The Shooting Gallery

Posted by nightfall at September 27, 2004 09:21 PM