Ishkur’s Guide to Electronic Music

A biting commentary on rave culture today led me to a very opinionated but educational Flash-driven guide to electronic music and a humorous “dictionary” of raver vocabulary. PLUR!
$4000 for a Fuji S1 Pro professional digital camera or a $7 roll of Fuji Provia 100F slide film? Compare for yourself.
Who is this woman who’s jammin’ with the JB Horns(Maceo Parker, Pee Wee Ellis, Fred Wesley)? Candy Dulfer!
Australia must be a magical place. Where else can you find prehistoric trees in the rainforest?
It’s always good to check your closets so you know that there aren’t weird people living in them.
It’s not very nice to push your fellow employee out the door of a flying plane. I think I’ll cancel that interview at HP 😉


Crouching Tiger review

Am I still raving about THAT movie? Yeah I am! 🙂
Elvis Mitchell’s review in the New York Times. (free registration required)
The USA Today review.
Terri Gross of NPR’s Fresh Air interviewed Ang Lee and Michelle Yeoh on December 5th. (thanks Owen!)
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon was at 5 of the top 10 grossing theaters in the opening weekend (at a total of 16 screens in North America) at over $44,000 per screen! For comparison’s sake, “Grinch” and “Vertical Limit” both took in about $6000 per screen (but they were on thousands of screens.)
Nevertheless, I’m happy for Sony Classics, Ang Lee and all the people involved in the movie. That they were an order of magnitude more profitable in it’s opening weekend has to be excellent news, no?

Rank Circuit Theater/City Wknd Gross Film
1 IND El Capitan, Hollywood $110,146 102 Dalmatians*
2 CLRV Chelsea, New York City 103,343 Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon
3 LCE E-Walk, New York City 71,294 Vertical Limit
4 NY F Lincoln Plaza, New York City 68,746 Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon
5 LCE Lincoln Square, New York City 67,885 Proof of Life
6 CTY Angelika Film Center, New York City 66,559 Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon
7 FAMS Paramount, Montreal 62,936 Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon
8 FAMS Paramount, Toronto 62,914 Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon
9 FAMS Colossus, Woodbridge, ON 53,588 Vertical Limit
10 UA Union Square, New York City 51,915 Proof of Life

* film plus exhibit; engagement ended Saturday

Top 10 theater engagements for the weekend of December 8 – 10

ACNielsen EDI sample: 29,356 playdates


Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon

Went to see Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon a second time in the opening weekend!
CAUTION: Spoilers ahead in this review!
The movie that stole the show at Cannes and the People’s Choice Award at the Toronto Film Festival (which last year chose “American Beauty” as it’s winner) has finally opened in limited release in the US. And what a masterpiece it is! I haven’t been as moved since I saw Von Trier’s “Breaking the Waves” and this movie does so much more.
Let’s take an overview of what Ang Lee brought together for this film:
Not only two of the top leading actors in cinema (Chow Yun Fat and Michelle Yeoh), but also one of the leading male heart throbs of Chinese cinema today (Chang Chen), and the 1960’s female martial arts star Cheng Pei-Pei, and clearly the brightest female rising star (Zhang).
Let’s not forget music by Tan Dun, cello solos by none other than Yo-Yo Ma, and theme song performed by Hong Kong pop superstar Coco Lee.
Then mix in the incredible beauty of the seldom-appreciated Chinese wilderness be it the Gobi Desert or the cloud covered mountains near Wudan.
Then mix in martial arts director/choreographer extraordinaire Yuen Wo Ping and clearly the most innovative mix of martial arts and computer graphics editing seen yet.
Any other director could have been overwhelmed by the scope or the vision of this film and Ang Lee himself explained that this film was a dream of his that he knew could not have happened without his previous work on movies like “Sense and Sensibility”, “The Wedding Banquet”, “The Ice Storm”, and his earlier work.
I believe that Ang Lee has really redefined himself as a director, as well as the genre and focus of martial arts film, as well as the status of Chinese cinema. Most importantly, Lee has redefined Asian cinema around the women of the film- notably in a film where martial arts plays a leading role. I hope to see more and better movies centered around Asian women (either fighting or not) and not specifically the men in action films. Lee’s vision, to balance the beauty with the action, the females over the males, tragic endings and epic film-making, is completely inspired and a positive amalgamation of East and West.
Critics keep on making references between action choreographer Yuen Wo Ping and his work on “The Matrix.” While those 10 minutes of “bullettime” were certainly memorable and important to the movie, Wo Ping has been directing martial arts movies since 1978 and has worked with ALL of the stars of Hong Kong cinema including Jackie Chan (see his brilliant performance in “Drunken Master”), Jet Li (“Last Hero in China”, “Tai Chi Master” and “Fist of Legend”), Michelle Yeoh (in “Tai Chi Master”), Sammo Hung (“The Magnificent Butcher” and “Eastern Condors”) and new superstar Donnie Yen (in “Iron Monkeys.”) Much credit is due to John Woo and his brand of HK action cinema, but Wo Ping deserves as much if not more due to the quality and quantity of the movies he has directed or choreographed. I hope that “Crouching…” will bring Wo Ping the credit in the West that he deserves.
A few professional critics were sorry to see the unfulfilled love between Li and Shu Lien. Due to their class and their Giang Hu lifestyle, Shu Lien and Li could not have had a fulfilled love. In the West we come to expect that from our leading characters but I believe that Ang Lee’s portrayal was much more accurate. For Shu Lien and Li, their choices to become warriors meant that they couldn’t have been lovers. That’s why Li’s decision to end his Wudan lifestyle was so important; it signalled the fact that he wanted to fulfill his love for Shu Lien. In fact his love for her was so strong he couldn’t attain the highest levels at Wudan because his feelings for her got in the way. In many ways, the portrayal of the love between Shu Lien and Li Mu Bai was more powerful than the “kidnapping” fantasy between Lo and Jen due to the fact that they loved each other privately within the bounds of their duties as warriors and their status.
Because I went to see the movie twice in it’s opening weekend in New York City (packed houses both nights) I overheard many people gushing enthusiastically over the film afterwards. Many people were questioning the suicide of Jen at the end of the film. I believe that Jen knew that to honor Shu Lien and the promise Jen made to Shu Lien, she had to kill herself because she set in motion (with the first theft of the sword) the events which led to Li Mu Bai’s untimely death. It was her duty to close the circle of death that surrounded the Green Destiny.
If you love this film as I do, you owe it to yourself to see it in the theaters more than once. When you see it the second time through, you can appreciate so much more of the cinematography and other nuances because you don’t have to concentrate as much on the subtitles.
Finally, unless you read Chinese, the title has to be explained. Jen’s name has the word Dragon in it as she hid her abilities to the world. Lo is the Tiger, as he is young and rash and wild.
Check out the public relations site for CT,HD.


deep house vinyl

Sorry not for sale now.

$7 – The Bobby Hughes Experience “The Piper Cherokee/Theme From Skidoo” (Ultimate Dilemma, UDR031)
mixes from Swag & Groove Armada.
$7 – Black Science Orchestra “Soul Power” (Afro Art Test)
$6 – Tony Watson “Passages” (Ibadan, IRC025)
$6 – A-Ha “Minor Earth/Major Sky” (Deep Culture, WEA)
Remixes by Ian Pooley, ATB & Pumpin’ Dolls
$6 – Mike Delgado “Jazzmania” (Nuphonic)
with a “Black Science Orchestra Swing re-edit”
$6 – Cultural Mambo “Docking in Outer Space” (Nuphonic)
with a Tiny Trendies mix and a “Pseudo Afro Beat-o version”
$6 – Yellow Sox “Flim Flam” (Nuphonic)
with the original mix, Faze Beats, Faze Action Live Guitar Dub and Faze Action Mix #2
$6 – Faze Action “Turn the Point” EP (Nuphonic)
with original, dub, and beats
$7 – Miguel Migs “Find What’s Mine” (Yoshitoshi, DDR, YR054)
$6 – Peter Phonix “Floating with Daddy Faust” (Verity Music)
$7 – Yukihiro Fukitomi “Brasilia 2000 EP” (Nite Grooves)
Brasilia 2000/Ritomo Number One/HSG/Gemi’s Afro Groove
$6 – Jammin and Face “Music and the Moon EP” (OM, OM0044SV)
Don’t Worry About It/Flamenco Fusion/Talk To Me/Talkin’ To Me (Blue)/Relax Bonus Beats
$6 – Pat Barry “Crazy Legs Vol. 2” EP (Guidance)
with “What You Do,” and “Snake Hips”
$7 – Deluxe Pusher (aka. Miguel Migs) “Next Lifetime” (white)
with dub and vocal mixes
$6 – V/A “Chill:in” sampler (Kickin)
with Rae & Christian’s “Spellbound,” Bob Le’s remix of “Vai Minha Tristeza,” Groove Armada’s “M 2 Many” and Freestyle Man’s “Love Story.”
$6 – Agent X “in the moring ep” (planet e)
with “in the morning,” “driftin’,” “deep in brazil,” and “trippin”
$6 – Stade “Miscellaneous EP” (Synchrovision)
anatonal/snipper/busy please wait/miscellaneous
$6 – Brooks “Pink Cigarettes” (Mantis, MANT004)
with an Atjazz remix
$6 – Glance “Down There EP” (
Talkback/For Love/Love Beats/Down There/Immature/Junction
$6 – Glance “Time” (STiR15)
with original, dub, ’99 reworked studio edit, orignal beats
$8 – Friends From Rio 2 “Cravo e Canela”
remixes by IG Culture
$6 – DJ Sameer and John Buccaneer “Digital Vodoo” (Siesta, SM-010)
with “Take Drums” and “Rude Vibration” original and Follow the Bassline mixes on colored (grey) vinyl
$22 – Crispin J. Glover “Rhythm Graffiti” LP (Paper)
$8 – The Future Sound of the United Kingdom “Furry Freaks feat. Terra Deva/Soothe” (MoS)
with 16b and Chicane remixes
$6 – Heller & Farley “The Rising Sun” (Junior Boys Own, BRG004)
with Bedrock & Danny Tenaglia remixes
$7 – Deepwater Sessions 1 (
not deep house
$6 – Gabriel Rene aka. Pimp Rekker “Battle on the Rooftops/Moonswang” (OM)
$7 – DJ Cam vs. Tommy Hools “Turf Wars Vol. 3” (Derailed)
$7 – Underwolves “Under Your Sky” (Blue/Island/Universal)
with Heavy Manners mix, Spacek Mix, Origin Unknown mix

News Personal

opening night of Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon

Went to the opening night of Ang Lee‘s new film Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. It was the first time in I can’t remember how long that I went to the opening night of a film and I have to say it was well worth it!
What a tremendous film! This film has completely supplanted all the other films I love as my favorite film. I can’t even begin to explain how wonderful it was to watch the beauty of China, of the actors, of the choreography, etc. It was everything I expected from a film by Ang Lee starring people like Chow Yun Fat and Michelle Yeoh, with fight choreography by Yuen Wo Ping, and Yo-Yo Ma playing cello.
The new female martial artist actor, Zhang Ziyi, is a complete revelation. I was stunned by her beauty and her movements. There were too many amazing fight sequences to pick out a favorite, but the sequence between Shu Lien (Yeoh) and Jen (Ziyi) was so inspiring. There was one image from that fight sequence shot from above as the two actresses were twirling like tops- it was like two disks of blurs spinning right next to each other with the odd fist and foot striking out from time to time.
Another scene I was mesmerized by was the fight in the restaurant when Jen totally kicks everyone’s ass all over the place. There was one part of that scene which was reminiscent of The Killer where the Chow Yun Fat character is walking through an apartment killing people with his twin pistols. The cinematography was similar enough that I was reminded of the similarity of the scenes.
I feel like I need to watch more old kung fu films in order to understand where this genre came from. I’ve seen Enter the Dragon but I hear that isn’t the pinnacle of the genre. I have to rent the older classics like Jackie Chan’s Legend of Drunken Master, Tai Chi Master with Yeoh and Bruce Lee’s Fists of Fury.
Also, the scenes from the Gobi Desert were incredible! I guess I knew how large China was but to see those expanses of wilderness was really inspiring. I hope to visit the Gobi one day myself.
One reason why I think this movie is going to be so impactful over time is that it goes in so many new directions with so many old themes and genres. While I really loved the action of the early 90’s HK cinema, the female perspective was close to nil.
Crouching Tiger celebrates the women in the film more than the men, imo, and to do that within the scope of this martial arts action adventure epic. The “3 generations of female martial arts actresses” (Ziyi, Yeoh, and Cheng Pei-Pei as “Jade Fox”) represented in “Tiger” are a testament to Lee’s having created a very new kind of martial arts movie- one where the women are more menacing and fierce than the men. The incredible restaurant scene is yet another facet of this new perspective.
A final thought about some of the reviews (most of which were very positive) was that more than one critic wished for a stronger portrayal of the love between Shu Lien and Li Mu Bai. I think that the fact that the love is unfulfilled is classically Asian in nature and fits the story well, especially when the love between Lo and Jen is consummated. Asking for a Western portrayal of the love between the main characters is to be ignorant of the strength of the culture in older Asian society.
Salon‘s review of the movie.