Sunday, November 23, 2008

What Can I Tell You About Bs.As.?

1. This music video is actually a documentary.

2. The subway system (el subte) is designed like a fork, with all the lines of the city converging in a central focal point right around the Plaza de la Republica (the famous obelisko). But since the last time I was here they have opened a new line (the H line) that cuts down the middle of town and allows one to take a minor shortcut. The stations in this new line are super modern yet the trains that run through are the rickety ones found in all the other lines. Some of the trains rumble so heavily through these historical tunnels that you feel the train might actually be wrenched apart while you're en route.

3. Part one of Soderbergh's epic about Che Guevara is already playing here, with giant posters of Benicio Del Toro all over town (they might be saving the downer second half of the project until the new year.) There are also posters everywhere for High School Musical 3, which will probably be the biggest Argentine box office hit of all time, as Zack Efron seems to possess the standards of genetic perfection that, outside of Argentina, can only be achieved in science-fiction or at Paul Verhoeven's casting calls.

4. I saw a half-hour show yesterday morning that was all footage of football goals scored, perhaps last week, perhaps all season. One shot after another of a striker scoring and the announcer screaming GOOOAAALLL!!!!!! for thirty seconds. Rinse and repeat.

5. I went to see Quantum of Solace in Palermo last night, shortly after watching a free performance by the Berlin Philharmonic in the centre of town (again, in front of the obelisko). When I bought my ticket and went in, the usher showed me to my precise seat. This might be a North American thing, but assigned seating to go see a movie seems to be a bit much, especially in an age where the film will not only be available in three months on DVD, but also can be found immediately on the sidewalk after coming out of the theatre, in bootleg form.

6. TV in Buenos Aires is insane. The hotel I'm staying at has about 75 channels, about 65 of which are Latin American variants of all the major American satellite channels. One of the tawdriest news channels, Cronicas TV, is aptly-named because I think Dr. Dre is the director of news operations there - if someone is lucky enough to catch a kid in the favelas firing his weapon off, they will show it in an endless loop and set it to music. There is a channel for each of the main American media conglomerates, plus an MGM Channel. The Latino TCM shows some movies, but mostly Spanish dubs of Get Smart and Kojak. I thought Argentine TV would be way raunchier than it actually is. The local channels are very low-budget by comparison, though they openly mimic the graphics of CNN, right down to the exact onscreen fonts. But one thing I can't do in Toronto is get up in the morning and start the day off with a one-two combo of Gilmore Girls and Veronica Mars reruns and stumble home to watch a chapter of Kieslowski's Dekalog, all of it subtitled en castellano... in Toronto you can only really depend on seeing a rerun of Everybody Loves Raymond while channel surfing at any given moment. By the way, I don't love Raymond and I want to go on the record with this.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Volver a Buenos Aires

Telekino is off to Argentina for another round of primavera. I leave on the 19th and get back on December 4. I switch planes in Chile - I will be have to kill four hours roaming the Santiago airport before legging it to Buenos Aires. Last time I stayed at a minimalist boutique hotel in Palermo Viejo but this time I want to hotel-hop and spend a few days in a few different barrios. I start off at a bed and breakfast in Boedo, a currently resurgent neighbourhood that was a hotbed of tango and leftist politics in the thirties. Then I move over to Recoleta, kind of the Upper West Side of Buenos Aires, to stay at an old hotel with stone lions at the entrance and an elevator that goes Bang! when it descends to the main level, i.e. my kind of place. Haven't yet booked the hotel for the last leg of the trip - I trust that I will be able to find another interesting place to stay when I'm there.

More bulletins to come.

Official Proclamation

As of November 2008, it is decreed that all arthouse films with a female protagonist must be marketed identically in this country's newspapers. None of this 'other kind of poster' bullshit. This is the design that elicits the most effective response.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Like a Hurricane

Paul Lynde hijacks the Channel 13 news team in Toledo, Ohio in 1978. One of my favourite inexplicable slabs of television history... I got hammered just watching this.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Bang Bang

The definitive version of course.

You could always count on Mina to do this song justice.

A French-Vietnamese cover by Thanh Lan is pretty awesome...

Equipe 84 did a hot psychedelic Italo version one evening on RAI...

Umm, can someone please put Raquel Welch's TV variety specials out on DVD?