De Strafste GO-GO Gentenaars!

03 januari 2013 | Commentaren (1)

Het is u met de feestdagen mogelijk ontgaan, maar op redelijk miraculeuze wijze ben ik door De Gentenaar genomineerd als Strafste Gentenaar in de categorie Media - naast onder meer Anemone Valcke, Cesar Casier, Johan Heldenbergh en de daadwerkelijk alomtegenwoordige Fredo De Smet.

 

Omdat ik het echter wat onkies vind om voor mezelf (uiterst rechtse kolom; derde naam op de lijst) reclame te maken, zou ik graag een lans en mogelijk ook een been breken voor de Gent GO-GO Roller Girls in de categorie Sport. Enerzijds omdat roller derby de enige echt mannelijke sport is - alleen homo's kijken naar mannen in korte broeken die met ballen spelen; hetero's kijken naar vrouwen op rolschaatsen die voor zichzelf namen verzinnen als Suzy Hotrod en elkaar in spandex de vloer aanvegen. Anderzijds omdat ze onlangs het eerste Benelux-toernooi wonnen, ze nu zelfs op Europees niveau ploegen van de baan rollen en ze sinds kort ook - als enig Belgisch team - officieel lid zijn van de Women's Flat Track Derby Association.

 

Nee, het mag duidelijk zijn dat uw stem toebehoort aan de Gent GO-GO Roller Girls.

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The Perks of Being a Wallflower

02 januari 2013 | Commentaren (0)

the-perks-of-being-a-wallflower-poster.jpgToen ik hem op het Filmfestival Gent interviewde na de voorstelling van The Perks of Being a Wallflower, gaf Ezra Miller toe dat regisseur Stephen Chbosky voor 'The Tunnel Song' oorspronkelijk een ander nummer in gedachten had dan Heroes van David Bowie. Voor de duidelijkheid: Logan Lerman, Emma Watson en Ezra Miller (bekend als het titelpersonage uit het meesterlijke We Need to Talk About Kevin van Lynne Ramsay) spelen in de verfilming van de gelijknamige roman van Chbosky drie misfit-tieners die er anderhalf uur over doen om - naast een hoop andere dingen - te ontdekken wie Heroes zingt. Het nummer staat op een anoniem cassetje, en de film speelt zich af in het begin van de jaren negentig, toen er van Shazam nog geen sprake was. Er waren natuurlijk wel al vijf miljard andere mensen om dat even aan te vragen, maar goed.

 

Op zich doet het er ook weinig toe: The Perks of Being a Wallflower is een charmante coming of age-film, en Heroes leent zich daar uiteraard goed voor. Het is alleen een beetje vreemd dat een groep verder erg vindingrijke tieners (die één keer per week een middernachtvoorstelling van The Rocky Horror Picture Show opvrolijken en bovendien verzot zijn op The Smiths) er zolang over zouden doen om David Bowie te herkennen. Al is 'lui' wellicht een beter woord, vooral als je weet dat naast Bowie, The Smiths en The Rocky Horror Picture Show eveneens de boeken van J.D. Salinger en Jack Kerouac hun opwachting maken. Nee, Chbosky had weinig zin op diep te graven, en hij maakt er zich ook narratief nogal makkelijk van af door met een - in een coming of age-film is dat een nog groter cliché dan The Smiths - voiceover te werken.

 

Maar het is uiteindelijk moeilijk om aan al die clichés te weerstaan, al was het maar omdat Chbosky ze door een uitstekende cast laat serveren. Lerman is de perfect geromantiseerde nerd; Watson vindt een knap evenwicht tussen lachen, mooi en compleet getraumatiseerd zijn; en Miller is redelijk grandioos als een onverbeterlijke flapuit wiens gaydar richting de kapitein van het plaatselijk rugbyteam wijst.

 

The Perks of Being a Wallflower speelt vanaf vandaag in de bioscoop, en er zijn ergere dingen om het jaar mee op gang te trappen.

 

 

The Best Motherf***ing Christmas Movies

25 december 2012 | Commentaren (2)

Die-Hard-671x1024.jpgYes, it's Christmas - the perfect day to watch Frank Capra's It's a Wonderful Life. That is, if you're over sixty and you spent last night celebrating the birth of Jesus. For the rest of us (stuck with a hangover from last night's hard liquor or from not getting the Christmas present we specifically requested), it's the perfect day to watch one (or all six) of these timeless Christmas gems.

 

1. Die Hard (John McTiernan, 1988)

 

To be honest, Renny Harlin's sequel is pretty damn good as well (and it also takes place on Christmas Eve) but the first one from John McTiernan isn't just a Christmas movie classic, it's the best action movie ever - turning TV star Bruce Willis into an cinema icon and finally giving Alan Rickman something better to do than to star in those eternally boring BBC miniseries.

 

2. Batman Returns (Tim Burton, 1992)

 

Tim Burton's first Batman movie was absolutely brilliant but this Christmas seasonal sequel is equally imaginative (Burton is back at the helm), hard-bitten (Michael Keaton is by far the best Batman ever), evil (Danny DeVito is mind-blowing as Penguin) and seductive (unless of course you hate women and didn't get turned on by Michelle Pfeiffer in that black leather cat suit; in which case you need to seek professional help).

 

3. Go (Doug Liman, 1999)

 

Three years before directing the excellent spy movie The Bourne Identity, Doug Liman cooked up this rather genius and dark teen comedy. It doesn't have the usual Christmas ingredients (although it does take place on Christmas Eve) but you just don't get that much snow in LA and no one really wants to hear White Christmas at a rave.

 

4. National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation (Jeremiah S. Chechik, 1989)


A couple of years ago, I interviewed Chris Cunningham (the genius behind twisted music videos for - among others - Aphex Twin) and I asked him what his favorite movie was. It's a stupid question I rarely ever ask but somehow it came up and I guess I was also a bit curious to know what the director of Come to Daddy watches on a Saturday night. His answer: National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation. No, he wasn't joking - in fact he was actually quite passionate about it.

 

5. The Nightmare Before Christmas (Henry Selick, 1993)

 

Probably the best puppet movie ever made - based on an irresistibly fun story by Tim Burton and featuring the catchiest tunes Danny Elfman has ever written. And you should know he used to be in a band called Oingo Boingo.

 

6. Gremlins (Joe Dante, 1984)

 

I was aiming for a top five but I already felt bad about excluding Home Alone so I just had to sneak this one in - because it's so deliciously dark and funny (and it always used to make me cry at the end).

Carl de Keyzer's Life as a Fan

16 december 2012 | Commentaren (1)

interview, carl de keyzer, moments before the flood, jimmy kets, Samsung NX Masters of Photography, france dubois, lannoo, garry winogrand, alec soth, william klein, moscow, magnum, storm thorgerson, tim burton, soulwax, xyz, dirk braeckman, larry clark

 

Afgelopen woensdag won France Dubois de Samsung NX Masters of Photography-wedstrijd, zodat haar foto’s (zie boven) nog tot 26 december aan de muren van L’ancienne nonciature in Brussel hangen – naast die van de tweekoppige jury Carl de Keyzer en Jimmy Kets. De jonge fotografe kreeg van Samsung ook een hoop camera’s, maar daar hebt u natuurlijk niets aan. Al kun je er altijd nog zelf één proberen scoren door op jouw favoriet uit de selectie van De Keyzer en Kets te stemmen - en wel hier!


Dat alles deed er mij aan denken dat ik voor de zomer een interview met Carl de Keyzer heb gedaan voor A&Gazette #3 (naar aanleiding van de Storm Thorgerson-tentoonstelling). We spraken toen over zijn nieuwe tentoonstelling en gelijknamige boek Moments Before the Flood, over zijn favoriete fotografen, filmmakers, muzikanten, over zijn legendarische Gentse fotogalerij XYZ én over zijn plannen om – I kid you not – een ambientplaat te maken. Tast (hieronder) toe!

 

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CARL DE KEYZER: “One day I’ll make a record. Sorry about that.”

Last summer, Magnum photographer Carl de Keyzer presented his new series Moments Before the Flood in Ostend – an impressive foray into places that may one day disappear when sea levels start to rise. In other words: an excellent occasion to talk to the Belgian photographer about the groupie who lives inside of him.

 
Words: Ben Van Alboom
Portrait: Wouter Van Vaerenbergh

It was your typical Belgian Sunday morning in May when we met up with Carl de Keyzer in Ostend to talk about the artists he loves. Strong winds? Check. Rain? Of course. Frost? The jury is still out on that but quite likely. Luckily, walking into the enormous exhibition space that houses Moments Before the Flood while noticing a – all part of the show – massive boat wreck outside totally made up for the weather.

As a matter of fact: the exhibition is so imposing that it would be just rude not to at least ask where you got the idea for it?
Carl: “Some six years ago, the performing arts centre Concertgebouw in Bruges asked me to shoot some images for its upcoming season’s catalogue. They also set forward two restrictions: stick to the theme – ‘water’ – and don’t picture people. I ended up traveling up and down the Belgian coast right around the same time those reports started to surface about how sea levels would unavoidably rise and consume large parts of the world. Then it just hit me – standing on a beach in Blankenberge – how that would make for a great series. In the end, over the course of sixteen months, I photographed thousands of beaches, castles, fire towers and rocks all over Europe – imagining I would be the very last person to stand there and see them; right before the flood would erase them from memory.”

Which explains the menacing unruliness of the pictures. Is that a characteristic, which is also present in the work of your all-time favorite photographer?
interview, carl de keyzer, moments before the flood, jimmy kets, Samsung NX Masters of Photography, france dubois, lannoo, garry winogrand, alec soth, william klein, moscow, magnum, storm thorgerson, tim burton, soulwax, xyz, dirk braeckman, larry clarkCarl: “Hardly. My all-time favorite photographer is Garry Winogrand. For me, as a young photographer, he was the first who was able to convey exactly what he was feeling in his work – and yes, I like photography that puts the photographer’s emotions and thoughts across. I want to see how a photographer feels about a certain person or situation. Does he like someone or really hate him? I want to get a sense of that through his work. Maybe that sounds easy but trust me: it isn’t. Especially not in the case of Winogrand, who had a knack for complex situations. He often created order from chaos without turning real-life situations into abstract case studies. With Winogrand, you always knew what a picture was about and how he felt about it. I definitely learned a lot from him.”

Any living photographer who inspires you?
Carl: “Quite a few actually. Take Alec Soth per example. There’s a certain minimalism to his work for which I truly admire him – the art of making the most powerful image with the least possible information. Compared to Alec, I’m much more like a painter: always adding drama to a situation.”

Is either Winogrand or Soth the author of your favorite photo book?
interview, carl de keyzer, moments before the flood, jimmy kets, Samsung NX Masters of Photography, france dubois, lannoo, garry winogrand, alec soth, william klein, moscow, magnum, storm thorgerson, tim burton, soulwax, xyz, dirk braeckman, larry clarkCarl: “No. That would be William Klein, whose brilliant Moscow I don’t own myself – unfortunately (first edition prints of the book easily sell for over €1,000 on eBay; go fetch)! I’ve always been a huge admirer of the way Klein was able to immerse himself in the crowd and, amidst the chaos, take a picture at the exact right moment. He wasn’t like Henri Cartier-Bresson or other famous Magnum photographers who might have waited an hour to avoid the chaos so they could be certain to take the perfect picture. He just went for it – fully aware of the fact that it would be impossible for him to control every single aspect of the photo he was about to take. I have to admit though that I’ve lived in Russia for three years and I must have visited Moscow about twenty-five times in my life. So as far as the subject matter of the book is concerned, I’m a little biased.”

Let’s talk cinema!
Carl: “Yes, please! I’m a big movie buff. I used to live next to Studio Skoop in Ghent, and there were times in my life you could find me there every single night. Nowadays, I only visit cinemas when they’re playing something I have to see on the big screen. All other movies I can watch on Blu-ray in my home cinema theatre – up in the attic. Although I did check out Tim Burton’s Dark Shadows on the big screen recently. Can’t say I was very impressed: lame story, weak performances, just a terrible movie.”

Which director has yet to disappoint you?
Carl: “I used to be into Fellini, Visconti, Pasolini, … These days, I’d have to say David Lynch – probably not the most original answer but I just find his surreal realism truly fascinating.”

Talking about surrealism: any chance there’s a Storm Thorgerson album cover in your record collection?
Carl: “Of course! I’m a huge music lover and vinyl collector so obviously I own quite a few of his designs. I started working in my dad’s record story when I was eight and Beatlemania was in full swing. Then I switched to hard rock – listening to Black Sabbath and Deep Purple – before becoming addicted to Pink Floyd, Yes, Todd Rundgren and other prog rock artists. Later on, as an art student, I only listened to jazz – obviously. I had this thing for ECM (legendary German jazz label) and bought pretty much everything they put out. Only trouble was they had some six hundred releases per year. (laughs) I still have about a thousand ECM records so that actually turned out to be quite a good investment.”

What about classical music?
Carl: “That came up next – alongside opera. I even listened to nothing but classical music and opera for a couple of years, before being saved by my iPod’s shuffle. Today, I’m mostly into electronic music: Amon Tobin, Aphex Twin, Apparat. I also have my own music studio – including some fifty synthesizers; almost as many as Soulwax. One of the things on my bucket list is to make an album before I’m 65. I’m pretty sure it’ll be really bad, although I like to think I’m getting better at it every day. Every time there’s a kid in my studio twisting knobs, I learn a few new things. So let’s just wait what happens: maybe it won’t be a complete disaster after all.”

Definitely not a complete disaster was the photo gallery you and Dirk Braeckman used to run in Ghent: the legendary XYZ.
interview, carl de keyzer, moments before the flood, jimmy kets, Samsung NX Masters of Photography, france dubois, lannoo, garry winogrand, alec soth, william klein, moscow, magnum, storm thorgerson, tim burton, soulwax, xyz, dirk braeckman, larry clarkCarl: “No, but to be brutally honest: it wasn’t a big hit either. Yes, we exhibited the work of Garry Winogrand, Ed Van der Elsken, Martin Parr, Larry Clark, but I think we sold about five pictures in seven years time – at dumping prices! You could get a Larry Clark print from us for one hundred euro and nobody wanted it! True, that was a lot of money in the eighties but you would be able to get $30,000 for it today. But it was just too soon. It was only around 1990 that art collectors started to show genuine interest in photography. We shut XYZ down in 1989. Fortunately, we never did it for the money. It was basically the only way to see the work of all these great photographers in Belgium. There were no photo museums; you had maybe one or two other photo galleries in the rest of the country. Bottom line: if we didn’t do it, nobody did.”

For the record: glad you did!

The book of Carl de Keyzer’s exhibition Moments Before the Flood is published by Lannoo. Buy it here.

2012: The 20 Best Albums (10 - 1)

14 december 2012 | Commentaren (0)

CHROMATICS+KILL+FOR+LOVE.jpgVoor wie nog steeds wanhopig op zoek is naar wonderbaarlijke kerstcadeaus (en gisteren niet overtuigd was door de nummers elf tot twintig): de tien beste platen van het jaar! De nummers één (Chromatics) en twee (Kendrick Lamar) zijn compleet aan elkaar gewaagd, dus zie het gerust als een gedeelde eerste plaats. Kill for Love is zonder twijfel het verrukkelijkste popalbum van het jaar; good kid, m.A.A.d city is een onwaarschijnlijk aangrijpende conceptplaat. De rest van de top tien spreekt voor zich, dus tast toe!

 

1. CHROMATICS - Kill for Love

 

2. KENDRICK LAMAR - good kid, m.A.A.d city

 

3. JULIA HOLTER - Ekstasis

 

4. SWANS - The Seer

 

5. DIRTY PROJECTORS – Swing Lo Magellan

 

6. FIONA APPLE - The Idler Wheel

 

7. THE XX - Coexist

 

8. BEACH HOUSE - Bloom

 

9. FLYING LOTUS - Until the Quiet Comes

 

10. GODSPEED YOU! BLACK EMPEROR - Allelujah! Don't Bend! Ascend!