(On the occasion of his new mural at Cashman Center)
What did you intend for this image to bring to this particular site?
The image is based on the flashing lights of a Vegas casino, an image so iconic to our city, rendered in the lush colors of desert earth and sparkling gold. The painting is intended to pay homage to and reflect the former—and present—glory of the signage at rest in the Neon Boneyard adjacent to Cashman Center. It also creates a vivid visual landscape at a high-traffic point at the facility.
What's the relationship between your mural work and your fine-arts work?
The main body of my existing work focuses on either abstraction from the animated lights of the city or from the bones of signage past. This mural celebrates the light; 100 years of neon, a theme of the centennial and undercurrent of my paintings for the last five years. The mural functions the same as my paintings, but with the addition of being totally accessible to the public. My work functions on both figurative and abstract levels. The mural is recognizable as a system of chasing lights but also as a study in color and figure ground relations.
How long did this take?
About 80 hours over three months. I had limited working time in the hot summer months. The paint at times would literally dry on the brush from the heat.
Brethren and the Evil Empire
The Too Much Fun Club Rides Again (2 stars)
The latest full-length disc from the McKinnon siblings (credited as Aaron Mystery and Jonno Secret Spy) is little more than 17 tracks' worth of snippets of potential songs, mired by psychedelic randomness and inexplicable studio tricks. There are hints of Bowie and Lennon, and lots of Pink Floyd influences, but Brethren would do best to learn from their heroes: You can be bizarre
and still record great pop-rock songs.
Sin City (R) (4 stars)
Based on a trio of stories by graphic-novelist Frank Miller, Sin City is an intricately conceived and brilliantly executed merger of ultra-violence, comic-book villainy, noir orthodoxy and digital artistry. Imagine Philip Marlowe as the hero of either Kill Bill or Blade Runner and you'll have a pretty good handle on Robert Rodriguez's pulp nightmare. Bruce Willis, Mickey Rourke and Clive Owen play the tarnished knights but it's the beyond-sexy vixens played by Jessica Alba, Jaime King, Brittany Murphy, Rosario Dawson, Devin Aoki and Carla Gugino who will drive sales among horny fans. The all-digital production is best viewed on a wide-screen, high-res monitor.
Astaire & Rogers Collection, Vol. 1 (NR) (5 stars)
Fans of ABC's Dancing With the Stars, Fox's So You Think You Can Dance and documentaries Mad Hot Ballroom and Rize are encouraged to jitterbug their way down to the local video emporium and pick up this wonderful compilation of musicals starring Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. Meticulously refurbished, the boxed set includes Top Hat, Swing Time, Follow the Fleet, Shall We Dance and The Barkleys of Broadway, and commentary, interviews, oddball featurettes and period cartoons. The stories themselves aren't all that memorable, but the stars' singing, dancing and on-screen chemistry are undeniably sensational.
Off the Map (PG-13) (4 stars)
Few movies of any intellectual gravity have been made about those determined idealists who in the '70s, refused to surrender to the forces of middle-class complacency by abandoning their farms and communes and moving back to town. For the sin of taking seriously the hard-scrabble few who refused to hang up their love beads when the going got tough, Campbell Scott's affecting family drama Off the Map was placed on a shelf for more than two years. In it, Joan Allen and Sam Elliott play survivors of the ill-fated migration of hippies to New Mexico, whose precocious 11-year-old daughter is desperate to leave the communal nest. While she dreams of earning an MBA, the family opens its doors and hearts to an IRS agent who visits them on official business, but discovers his true calling as an artist.