Sunday, February 25, 2007

Ryan Larkin Dies by Lezah Williamson

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Former National Film Board animator Ryan Larkin died of lung cancer on Feb. 14, 2007.

Larkin's work included the Academy Award nominated short 'Walking' (1969) and the acclaimed 'Street Musique' (1972).

Larkin quit the NFB in the late 1970s as his life spiralled out of control due to drug and alcohol abuse. He became homeless and supported himself by panhandling. He later was the subject of Chris Landreth's Academy Award winning short 'Ryan'.

More recently Larkin had been back at work, first on the 2005 piece 'Spare Change', and in December of 2006 on three 5 second bumpers he did for MTV.

See Terry's piece on the film 'Ryan' for more information.


Fruitful Finds by Christine

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The internet has been a source of ongoing frustration for me, especially when it comes to researching an article. I find I am faced with pages and pages of useless urls, and after the 14th attempt at word monopoly, and by the 20th page of a ‘fruitful’ topic search, I may be fortunate enough to have gathered a couple of factual notes.

Despite my annoyance, the internet also allows me the odd plum now and again. For instance, while searching information for ‘The Sorrows of Young Werther’, I inadvertently stumbled across these gems:


woods lot

Take a look. If you enjoy poetic blog entries and websites, this is the url for you.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Wolfmother February 22, 2007 By: Christine Albrecht

PNE Forum Sold Out

PNE Forum Sold Out

Thanks to Kelli at House Of Blues, I finally got to see Wolfmother and without paying scalper’s fees.

Was my third time trying the charm? Most definitely!

As Jeff O’Neill from CFOX radio station informed us, this was the largest crowd Wolfmother had played to; the first stop on their North American Tour, and the largest crowd the 75 year old PNE Forum has experienced in over a decade. Wolfmother has visited Vancouver three times in the last year, having sold out each venue.

For anyone who knows my musical tastes, Wolfmother’s self titled cd was selected as my number one pick for 2006 (although actually released in October of 2005). After the opening act, The Icarus Line , finished their set, I was concerned about the acoustics in the Forum as I found most of Icarus’ set was sound like one song blended into another. However, their theatrical showmanship made up for the poor sound. The singer strutted, full scarf ensemble a la Steve Tyler, and did the hands on hips swagger channelling Mick Jagger. As well, there is nothing more humbling than having to be your own roadies at a big gig. I think Wolfmother chose well for their opening act as The Icarus Line definitely warmed up the crowd with their antics. (As well, the crowd seemed familiar with their songs Up Against the Wall, and Party the Baby Off.)

The energy in the room prior to Wolfmother taking the stage was palatable. The bass sound system was turned up to the point where I could feel it in my throat as if eating it. Then when the three unassuming men took the stage, the audience lost it. Body/crowd surfing ensued, and I was crushed to the front (which reminds me - the blue stage lighting/smoke has got to go as none of my pictures turned out!). Kudos to security who only got physical with one clearly out of control fellow - they put up with spilled drinks, tossed water bottles, thrown clothing and helped each of the crowd-surfing kids down at front and off into the crowd again.

The audience was an eclectic mix, with mostly younger fans attending as this was an all ages show. I even managed to glimpse some white unicorn getups and full afro wigs in honour of singer, 31 year old Andrew Stockdale. (I swear, I have never seen a hairier band than this - when the lead singer would smile, all you saw were white chiclets amidst wild hair.) Chris Ross was clearing favouring one leg and I was curious what injury he had experienced. (Later found out that While playing a gig in Copenhagen, Denmark, Feb. 17/07, he injured his foot.) He limped over to his keyboards and had a seat - playing both bass and keyboards (although he semi stomped on his bass when it was not performing as he wished - roadies quickly fixed the situation). He is also very physical with his keyboard, often playing it on a slant or in some distorted fashion. Myles Heskett on drums is mesmerising to watch, whether he waves a Canadian flag or not. These three Australians have clearly been adopted by Canada and I believe the feeling is mutual.

The fact that the band plays a Led Zeppelin tribute was not lost on me as they are so similar to Led Zeppelin, it is almost too comfortable (for me) - ha, intimating my age range here.

All the songs , White Unicorn, Mind’s eye, Dimension, Woman, Love Train, and Joker & the Thief draw huge audience approval, and Andrew kept thanking the crowd, almost self-consciously, for the adulation. He also strutted and stomped across the stage during songs - almost a dual personality - arrogant rock star during songs, humble musician between songs.

This is what surprised me - despite the Forum being horrible for live acts - Wolfmother’s set was seamless. The vocals were crisp and I could hear every word. It was a terrific gig, one that I will remember, and the audiences’ enthusiasm for this young trio will stay with me. I have to laugh when I think about Faith No More’s producer going on about how much Wolfmother ‘suck’, well, Matt Wallace, if only your band had ‘sucked’ this much...

Wolfmother continues rocking its way across Canada, selling out venues in the first four provinces. Don’t be surprised if their next tour involves larger and more crowded venues.

The first image is from Wikipedia and the latter is from my sad set. Ah well...

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Friday, February 23, 2007

XXL Featured, iTunes Listed, Record Label Dynamo By: Baba Brinkman

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Heads or Tales,

For those of you who take an interest in my activities because of their literary pedigree, consider this the hip-hop issue. It's 2007 and I'm on the same grind that I've been percolating for the past four years, travelling around rapping the Canterbury Tales and other stories, taking my message of poetical and cultural evolution to the world. It stays fresh because I keep pushing it into new frontiers, new incarnations. I will briefly tell you about some of them.

I just got home from Project Blowed, a weekly open-mic night near Crenshaw Blvd in Los Angeles. I got to perform directly after rap veteran and underground legend Aceyalone, who came with some of the livest live hip-hop I've ever heard. I freestyled with back-packin' L.A. rappers and performed my song "Symptom", and made some good connections with with the help of a magazine article.

Which article? XXL is either the top rap magazine or one of the top two, depending on who you ask, and the April issue currently on shelves features platinum N'awlins rapper Lil Wayne on the cover proclaiming "I Am Hip-Hop", and me on page forty four proclaiming that rap is poetry. I don't claim to be hip-hop in the article, (hardly an original statement from a rapper), but the author does describe my latest album as "straight hip-hop", saving me the trouble. This full page spread with photos in the top rap mag was my ghetto pass in L.A. tonight, not that the cypher was a hostile environment, and not that my lyrics weren't pass enough; it just made a hell of an ice-breaker. If you're interested in mainstream hip-hop's take on me, you can find XXL on any magazine stand in the industrialized world.

The other new development that has given me a boost recently is the appearance of all three of my albums on the iTunes Music Store, including The Rap Canterbury Tales and the recently pre-released "straight hip-hop" LP entitled "Lit-Hop". This gives anyone anywhere with an internet connection the ability to get my music instantly, but only if they already have an interest in it. The problem of accessibility is now elegantly solved, and all that remains is to spark everyone's interest everywhere. I'm working on it.

So go ahead, treat yourself to some passionately intricate lyricism, guaranteed to make you smarter while you listen. Be my viruses, write reviews, tell your friends: I've got mad style disease, infectin' a thousand MCs like spirochetes; I've got a sonically-transmitted disorder of rhyme all of the time.

Here's the link to iTunes: itunes Site

Next week I head up to Fresno for the Rogue Festival, then back to Vancouver to work on the first major release from my newly-founded record company, Lit Fuse Records Inc. Yes, on top of all this, I now own a limited corporation as well. And the beat goes on. The first release will not even be from me; it will be from a certain singer and next-big-thinger named Aaron Ross, with production by none other than Simon Kendall. If you want to hear Aaron's chops, check out the song "Oh No!" on my myspace page:Visit Baba’s Site

In April I'm returning to the UK for two months of touring and recording, including a stint in Canterbury, followed by the Montreal, Ottawa, and Toronto Fringe Festivals in June/July, followed by... something impressive-sounding, you can be sure of that. But I'll save it.

Spreading love and roguish behaviour,


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Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Tribute to Joni Mitchell to be released on April 24/07

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April 24th Release Set For A Tribute To Joni Mitchell

The First Major Album Honouring the Artist

’A Tribute to Joni Mitchell', the first major tribute album to the legendary artist, is set for release on Nonesuch Records / Warner Music Canada April 24th. Musicians from many genres are represented on the 12 tracks of both rare and quintessential songs from the revered and influential singer/songwriter's expansive career.

Each performer's distinct takes on 'A Tribute to Joni Mitchell' are true to their own artistry, proving Mitchell's universal appeal and versatility as a songwriter. Mitchell becomes the thread linking together these otherwise very different musical styles into a cohesive and brilliant creation.

Executive producer and Nonesuch Records President Bob Hurwitz, a longtime admirer of Joni Mitchell, came across the project upon Nonesuch's move to Warner Brothers in 2004. It was started in the late '90s, but never completed. He says:

"I loved much of what I heard from the first group of recordings; the best of the tracks, at least to me, sounded like these artists were singing for an audience of one: Joni Mitchell. They knew she would hear their recording of her song, which has to be one of the most daunting tasks any musician can face.

In moving forward, I thought that there should be a purpose to every track: each should be a reinvention or an homage, or be performed by an artist who was a part of Joni's life or whom I knew she admired, or whose life was changed by Joni. Listening to them all, one can only be struck by the incredible craft she brought to these songs, all written as intensely personal statements, yet having the expressive resilience that allows other great artists to find part of their own musical life in her creations."


1. Free Man in Paris Sufjan Stevens

2. Boho Dance Björk

3. Dreamland Caetano Veloso

4. Don't Interrupt The Sorrow Brad Mehldau

5. For The Roses Cassandra Wilson

6. A Case Of You Prince

7. Blue Sarah McLachlan

8. Ladies Of The Canyon Annie Lennox

9. Magdalena Laundries Emmylou Harris

10. Edith And The Kingpin Elvis Costello

11. Help Me k.d. lang

12. River James Taylor

Concert Review: The Furios (Cadaver Dogs, et el) Feb 16, 2007

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By: Ashley Harder

The Anza Club

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I arrived at the Anza CLub too early - My mistake as it was to be a long night. After spending an hour with relatives, I headed back to the club to view a four band lineup. Anyone who has been to the Anza Club (8th and Ontario) knows that it is a very small venue with not the best acoustic offering. I was willing to give a little with regards to sound, but the first two acts (I Braineater and the Heart breakers, and Tony Baloney and the Rubes) were awful. Sorry gang, but bad sound or not, the sets were indecipherable.

My interest picked up with the Cadaver Dogs. They were definitely better, and the singer was a stand out based on voice alone, but they were not showcased well at this club. This is a band I would considering seeing a second time, albeit at a larger venue.

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By 1:00 a.m. I was impatient, tired and annoyed with some of the crowd. The audience had been fairly listless up to this point save for a few diehard fans of the earlier acts. I was not in a generous mood for The Furios, which makes this review all the more interesting. When The Furios hit the stage, crowd apathy dissipated and you could feel the energy of the room pick up. With trumpet, saxophone and three guitars, the set was tight, fast and lengthy. Thirteen songs, a few encore tunes and no breaks. They finished at around 2:30. Quite an impressive set.

Overall, I find ska/punk/reggae bands to sound the same; songs seem to blend into one another - none standing out. So here is a ‘first’ for me. I liked three songs, and remembered the song titles:

Together as One


Walking On

I also enjoyed Ghost Town - to which Christine asked, is that the Specials’ song? Hey - that’s way before my time, so I have no idea. I just know I really enjoyed the tune. As well, given my general dislike for ska/punk, the fact that any song stood out is impressive.

Safe to say, The Furios blew everyone out of the water and are definitely an act to follow. I would suggest that lovers of ska/punk take in one of their gigs, and after visiting their site (see links) I gather they are a ‘live’ act to follow, so I am sure they have had similar accolades.

Well done Furios - we thought your late start may have doomed the set, but that was not to be.

BTW - Happy birthday Stefan (new guitarist).

Sunday, February 11, 2007

The Furios are playing a gig at the Anza Club on Friday February 16 - Come on Down!

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The Furios are playing an upcoming gig on Friday at the Anza Club (8th and Ontario). They will be playing along with Cadaver Dogs and Tony Baloney and the Rubes. The Anza club is always a fun experience, and with a great lineup of local talent, it should be rockin’ Friday night. Don’t miss out!


Saturday, February 10, 2007

Bridezillas and What of the Men who Survive Them? By: Christine Albrecht

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Image from Burt Convoy’s myspace page


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I just completed watching an episode of, Bridezillas (on Life Network .)

The premise of the show is to follow generally normal, ‘nice’ gals and watch as they evolve into these horrible, demanding, arrogant, self-centred divas-for-a-day, brides.

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Weddings aren’t a new concept for me. Having been the centre of attention at two myself; acting as a bridesmaid in five, and having attended nuptials, too numerous to count - I am quite at home with the circus, uhm, I mean ritual.

My first wedding occurred outside at the Queen Elizabeth Park (Vancouver), around 7:00 pm, on a Monday, in the lovely month of June. (Total cost: approximately $650; $400 from my husband and I, and $250 from my Father and Mother as afterwards, they treated 20 of the 30 guests to dinner at a local restaurant ).

10 years later, my next marriage occurred in a small, beautiful chapel in the Interior. (It was one of the original churches of the town where I grew up, and it was the church I attended.) We married at 4:00 on a Friday afternoon, with surprisingly beautiful weather for March).(Total cost: approximately $2100; $1500 from my husband and, again, $1600 from my Father and Mother as they treated 45 of our guests to dinner.) (NO - not fast food!!) However, I had never even heard the term, Bridezilla, until I read of the show’s popularity on Life Network.

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After 30 minutes, I was shocked that the Bridezillas’ fiancees would even go through with the marriage (Then again, I supposed there is an element of fear involved, having been exposed to the ‘Bridezilla personality’ of his future wife.) There was not one girl who (If I were the fellow) I would stick around for, after that ‘lovely’ display of potential future personality disorder, or I would resign myself to sleeping with one eye open. Anyone familiar with the movie, The Exorcist, would get a kick out of the resemblance between the green-pea-soup scene possessed character of the movie, and a typical Bridezilla.

One gal, who become engaged after four days of dating some fellow she accidentally dialled on the phone, actually planned her marriage to occur within thirty days of the aforementioned dates. Her head started spinning around when what she wanted was not available and/or wasn’t being arranged properly. Hello? Come on - do these gals honestly feel that they are the only ones to marry, at that given time, on that given day (and perhaps, in their lifetime)? How delusional can one become?

And the costs...! I consider it fiscal insanity to pay out, for one day, weddings expenses that rival a potential mortgage down payment, or a luxury car purchase. Then I discovered one stark raving, lunatic bride wasn’t even footing the bill for her ‘day’ - her parents were! And darling daughter/ Bridezilla was causing her mother grief at ever step of the way. $#!@#^@#$$^*! I TOLD YOU I wanted the scalloped hemmed veil you $#!@#^#$^*!

Heck, if that were my child, I would be sneaking into the invitations a request for cash gifts (written out the the Mother of the Bride) instead of the usual wedding fare. Forget etiquette - hand over some cheques, please! (Funny thing, my friends would totally agree, whereas my family would probably exchanged those,God’s she’s gotten cheap and tacky with age, all-knowing looks!)

Whew, glad I got all those Bridezilla trauma images out of my system. I didn’t realize how strong an aversion I had to people behaving badly towards: seamstresses, fiancees, mothers, florists, bakers, caterers, wedding planners, etc.

First question of the moment for the fiancees: Was your bride always one of those crazy, very scary, don’t-let-her-play-with-sharp-objects kind of gal? Was she always a perfectionist to detail and ‘symmetry? Did your bride end up having a meltdown at the reception because some doily colour was wrong, and it was her day! Damnit and she wanted things perfect! Did the date of expiry on everything (usually dated for that day) expire a little too quickly? And why did you, as a fellow and having finally seen the good, bad and ugly, stick around with this potential nut? Or, are you one of those few, who actually called it off from the get-go after seeing what sort of long-term mess you were getting into?

Now one last, silly observance... please humour me... why are people now using the response, “I do”, when it used to be,”I will”? Now, I know I am not that ancient, but come on, when did this change? I think I have had my fill of weddings for awhile.

Queen Elizabeth Park

Interior Church from: anglicanimages

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Online Html Tutorials

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Tblogger’s Inkspector, provides ‘How-to’ tutorials on virtually everything bloggers may need to create an inviting site.

Inkspector’s Site

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As I was browsing through tblog’s sites, I came across a blogger who provides articles which will assist writers whom are just beginning to experiment with HTML options.

Inkspector provides how-to tutorials on important html features. Most online writers, especially the novice ones, will appreciate the simple and direct instructions provided.

As well, her sidebar links are an invaluable resource for those needing knowledge or guidance in creating and/or improving their blog sites. For example, in Inkspector's sidebar, you will find titles such as:

• Blogging Basics 101

• Template Tweaking 1

• Creating an Index

• Posting an Entry

• Embedding a Link

• Avatar Resources

• Free Online Photo Albums

• Slide Widget 1 (resources)

• Rainbow Text Generator

along with many other options.

Inkspector's site is definitely worth a visit.

Helmet: Boucher’s review of Monochrome

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Full of twisted riffs and powerful rhythms, Monochrome hearkens back to Helmet's most popular album, Meantime. All the elements are here, and Page Hamilton's writing and guitar work is as enjoyable as ever. The riffs are huge, the grinding dissonance cuts through like a rusty blade, and the wacked-out guitar solos add just the right amount of extra personality and ugliness.

Some moments are more about pounding the grooves (the snappy drumming driving Hamilton's riffs that much further) and some are more about a twisted sort of dissonant atmosphere. Sometimes there's even an actual melody or two, a sort of deranged metallic pop sensibilty floating above the mangled riffage.

Monochrome isn't a knockout, but it is a very enjoyable slab of grind and balls for your metal-pleasure.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Five or Six Songs That Affected my Life by: Terry Lowe

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The first real rock’n’roll song I ever heard was ‘No Time Left For You’ by the Guess Who, probably around 1965, on the car radio. I loved that electric guitar sound (provided by Randy Bachman), and wanted more. “No, leave it ON...” I pleaded when my Dad changed the station. He didn’t, so I got my own Westinghouse transistor radio from somewhere, and stashed it beneath my pillow at night, when I could pick up stations from exotic windswept places like Minneapolis or Chicago. I can remember far enough back when Elvis was still on the Hit Parade, hey now.

* Born To Be Wild - Steppenwolf. First record I ever bought, back in ye olde days of 12" vinyl LPs. I was just a kid, and this was the first rock’n’roll record ever in our house. It was not met with much parental approval.

* Stuck Inside of Mobile (With the Memphis Blues Again) - Bob Dylan. Still just a kid, and wondering, “What on earth is he talking about? And why do I LIKE this weird shit so much? Who IS this guy? What is going on here?” Those are all good questions for youngsters isolated in small towns to ask.

* School’s Out - Alice Cooper. An immortal anthem for the immortal snotty adolescent in all of us. Those opening guitar licks that sound like a fire alarm still send thrills and chills down my spine. Ah, fleeting youth. That feeling was briefly regained the first time I heard London Calling by the Clash, but that was years later and The Clash were not at all snotty. I think Alice was the first punk. I digress...

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* Walk on the Wild Side - Lou Reed. So sultry with the double bass guitars and the saxophone at the end. I was still a naive adolescent living in a small town in the middle of nowhere, and the decadence in that song seemed SO attractive.

At the time, I’d never heard of Eric Burdon and the Animals. I didn’t know We Gotta Get Outta This Place (didn’t have a girl, either). Had I, that would have been our theme song. My loss at the time, but I was delighted to see that song resurface decades later, covered by DOA and Jello Biafra. I digress again, oh my.

* Peaches en Regalia - Frank Zappa (first track on the 1969 ‘Hot Rats’ album; I was a latecomer). Opened up a whole new world, that of instrumental music that could be both cool and interesting at the same time. I owe FZ a lot for that: it led directly to Duke Ellington and Oscar Peterson, Miles Davis and Charles Mingus, and an understanding of what sultry and cool really sounds like.

* Key To The Highway - Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee, on some old Vanguard blues anthology. Opened up another whole new world: How can two old guys (one playing harmonica and the other playing a six-string acoustic guitar) sound so good? “Time to get outta here and find out,” I thought, and did.

Despite all those wild youthful rock’n’roll influences, I turned out to be not wild, nor decadent, but instead rather quiet and thoughtful. Being young is usually difficult; I certainly wouldn’t want to do it again. Music helps, and that which helps most is what you remember the longest and most fondly (yes, even Alice Cooper).

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Hayao Miyazaki By: Lezah Williamson

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About ten years ago we rented an animated feature film - whether or not it was on the basis of a recommendation from someone, I can't remember - but whatever the case, once we got the movie home and watched it, we fell in love, big time. We have, quite conservatively, watched that film about a hundred times. Or maybe more. The film I'm talking about is 'Kiki's Delivery Service' (1989).

Now, I was used to the Japanese animation that came out of the seventies, specifically for the TV market that had a really cheap and hurried feel to it - very much mass produced. So to say I was amazed at the quality of animation in this film would be something of an understatement. The backgrounds are beautiful and very painterly; the main characters are full and rich and wonderfully drawn. And beyond that, the story was fantastic, a wonderfully optimistic coming of age story with a confident little witch at the helm. The film was ripe with humour and struggle and joy and all the other things that make life grand.

We found out that the artist, Hayao Miyazaki, had done some other films, so we immediately went out and got 'My Neighbour Totoro' (1988)- which immediately became a new favourite in our house. While it too, had beautiful scenery and richly drawn characters, its protagonists had quite a bit less control over their lives than the main character in Kiki's Delivery Service did. While Kiki boldly set out on her own at the tender age of 13 to make her new life as a town witch, she did encounter a few minor problems, but for the most part her life was pretty ideal: she immediately got a job, learned her craft, met some friends, found a nice place to live, and was well on her way to her goal.

In 'My Neighbour Totoro', the two main characters Mae and her older sister are deposited at the beginning of the movie in a new home far out in the country. Their father is off at work all day at the university while their mother is off in the hospital with an undisclosed illness. The girls are left on their own, and have to learn to cope in their new home, which, it turns out, has a variety of strange beings living in or near it. Whereas nothing in 'Kiki's Delivery Service' could be construed as ominous or threatening, in 'My Neighbour Totoro', the viewer initially has to question the safety of the girls in light of these strange creatures. But, as with Kiki, both Mae and her sister prove to be brave and strong female characters - a theme that runs through most of Miyazaki's work. (And, the creatures all turn out to be good guys!).

In addition to his strong female characters and the spirit of optimism that pervades most of his films, other common themes in Miyazaki's work include flying and pigs (sort of an odd combination, but...).I'm sure here in North America, Miyazaki is best known for his Academy Award winning feature film, 'Spirited Away' (2001). Oddly enough, this is my least favourite of his films, as it has much more of a nightmarish quality to it. The main character Chihiro, like Mae and her sister in 'My Neighbour Totoro', is also moving to a new home, but becomes separated from her parents before she gets there - and then everything around her changes and melts into a surreal version of her old surroundings, complete with parents who morph into pigs and giant blobs she has to clean for a living. Like I said, its a nightmare.

I prefer the earlier films, like 'Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind' (1984), 'Laputa: The Castle in the Sky' (1986), and 'Porco Rosso' (1992), for their lighter and more optimistic outlooks. There are also a few more Miyazaki films on my 'to see' list: 'Princess Mononoke' (1997) and 'Howl's Moving Castle' (2004). Apparently, 'Tales from Earthsea' (2007) has already been given an early release in France, and will be released elsewhere in March. Rumour has it that Miyazaki is already hard at work on his next feature, which will be based on the Chinese story, "I Lost My Little Boy."

Miyazaki works closely with Isao Takahata and most of his work is done for Studio Ghibli. But even prior to Studio Ghibli's inception, Miyazaki was working in animation on feature films such as 'Wolf Boy Ken' (1963), and he continues to draw manga - both 'Nausicaa of the Valley of Wind' and 'Porco Rosso' are based on Miyazaki's manga.

When watching his films, there have always been a few things I wondered about - like where exactly did his stories take place? Obviously, there is a large element of fantasy to them, and for some of the films ('Spirited Away', for instance, or 'My Neighbour Totoro') the location (Japan) is pretty clear. But in 'Kiki's Delivery Service'? Just where exactly is that? It always looked like Europe to me. Well, it turns out that in his early years, Miyazaki did location work in Switzerland, Italy and Argentina, and so the influence of those countries is clearly seen in the backgrounds of some of his work.

Likewise, I wondered who influenced his work. Apparently, Miyazaki does not like Disney at all (except for some of the early work) - it seems he has trouble with the story lines, primarily. Obviously, Japanese artists have influenced Miyazaki, but he is also a very big fan of Canadian animator Frederic Bac (who did ‘Crac!’).

Finally, I always wondered about the nature of the illness of the girls' mother in 'My Neighbour Totoro' - she had been in hospital for at least a year, and the story revolves around her being granted permission to come out of the hospital a number of times, only to have that permission rescinded at the eleventh hour, once again leaving the girls parent less, in effect. We never do find out what ails the mother, but, coincidentally, Miyazaki's own mother was confined to hospital with spinal tuberculosis from the time Miyazaki was 6 until he was 14. And, regarding the flight imagery - Miyazaki's father was the director of Miyazaki Airplane, a company that produced airplane parts. Well. That explains everything!

Now, even though I'm a big fan, I have not been able to convince my friend (the Disney fan) to convert to Miyazaki. She just cannot see what I see. I guess something was lost in the translation?

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