Archive for February, 2014

Cliff Bernunzio and Nemesys rock the Recovery Room in Westwood

The Lego Movie figures

by Sam Juliano

As I pen this week’s lead in snow is again falling on the Metropolitan area, though expectations are that it will conclude around midnight, leaving in its wake two inches.

What can beat a glorious marathon session of classic rock from a talented veteran trio who grew up in your own back yard?  The Nemesys and their erstwhile leader, bass guitarist Cliff Bernunzio rocked the rustic night club-restaurant The Recovery Room for over three hours on a frigid Saturday night in the quaint town of Westwood, New Jersey.  Bernunzio, 63, and his his esteemed colleagues, Tony Cavallo on lead guitar and Chris Carnavale on drums gave the classic catalog quite the work out with three sets, that totaled 36 songs by the greatest bands in rock history: The Beatles, The Stones, The Doors, Cream, Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, Tom Petty, The Yardbirds, Black Sabbath, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Queen, Steppenwolf, The Ramones, The Kinks, Simon & Garfunkle, The Zombies, John Lennon and the Steve Miller Band.  As performed by the Nemesys, several of the covers were electrifying – “Magic Carpet Ride,” “I Want You,” “Brown Sugar” and “Green River” among others.  All three band members alternated and/or converged on the vocals, with Carnavale assuming much of the duty in dynamic form.  Bernunzio, of Little Ferry, has upcoming venues in Bayonne, in Maywood and back in Westwood in the coming months, with one devoted exclusively to Doo Wop, that will focus on Classic 45s. (more…)

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One of the greatest honors ever for Wonders in the Dark was bestowed upon the site and Yours Truly this past week, when author Peter Danish used a quote praising his book from me that is included with five others from some of the biggest names in opera.  The quote will also appear on the book’s back cover.  The novel, which I read months ago is stupendous, and a full review will be posted sometime after it is officially released in ten days.

The book’s trailer is offered here with the incredible inclusion of Wonders in the Dark.  When trailer appears, simply click on play and wait for the five quotes, including the one for WitD, which appears at the 2:02 mark.

-S. J.

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by Allan Fish

(Germany 1926 95m) DVD1

Aka. Der Student von Prag

He gambled with his soul and lost

p  Harry R.Sokal  d  Henrik Galeen  w  Henrik Galeen, Hanns Heinz Ewart  story  Edgar Allan Poe  ph  Gunther Krampf, Erich Nitzchmann  art  Hermann Warm

Conrad Veidt (Balduin), Werner Krauss (Scapinelli), Fritz Alberti (Graf Schwarzenberg), Elizza Porta (Liduschka), Agnes Esterhazy (Margit), Ferdinand von Alten (Baron Waldis Schwarzenberg),

Take a crash course in German Expressionism in the 21st century and a great injustice will be perpetrated borne out of ignorance.  We know Murnau, Lang, Pabst, of Robert Wiene for Caligari (if little else) and Paul Wegener for and as Der Golem.  Yet it’s a summary guilty of numerous oversights.  Such avant garde pioneers as Hans Richter and Walter Ruttmann, Kammerspiel founder Lupu Pick, Paul Leni, E.A.Dupont, Joe May and Hanns Schwarz all merit a mention.  As do the likes of Hermann Warm, Karl Freund and Fritz Arno Wagner.  Not to mention the man who perhaps was the movement’s very soul in the same way Zavattini was to neo-realism, writer Carl Mayer.

The one missing from this illustrious roll call is Henrik Galeen.  Various key film reference works list him as an essential figure in German expressionism, but why do we not know him better?  It can be partially explained by looking him up on the IMDb, where Galeen comes up as “writer, Nosferatu.”  He did indeed write the scenario for Nosferatu.  He wrote Der Golem and Waxworks, too, but who remembers that he once co-directed the 1913 version of Der Golem?  Who indeed remembers him as a director at all?

He didn’t make many films as a director, and fewer still survive, but there are two that are worth tracking down.  Alraune is a worthy variation on many expressionistic themes with Paul Wegener and Brigitte Helm excellent in the leads.  Better is his The Student of Prague, like Der Golem a remake of a 1913 original, and while that version has its advocates, few could argue that Galeen’s is the better film.  (more…)

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A video by Melanie Juliano

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© 2014 by James Clark

   After Theodore, the protagonist of Her (2013), completes a spate of ghost writing in his capacity as writer #612 at Beautiful Handwritten Letters, Limited, by putting himself under the skin of client, Marie, fondly reminding her husband to tell her about “one little thought you had today,” his supervisor comes along and tells him, “That’s beautiful! You are part man and part woman. The inner part is woman. It’s a compliment.” It’s also a distortion, of a film narrative far too subtle to fall effectively into the template of Southern California Lotus Land, sometime in a future whereby LA is as rife with pungent office, hotel and condo towers as Shanghai (the actual site) is today. Theodore is an expert in linking spouses and all manner of significant others, on the basis of touching those homespun strengths that bring the ordinary into the realm of the heart warming. He was married to a woman (now in the process of divorcing him) whose idea of writing played out to more weighty concerns. And, for the lion’s share of this lamb’s crossing our path here he has devoted considerable, perhaps surprising, energies to pursuing the interpersonal prospects of joining with a computerized operations system (an OS) designed in such a way as to deploy its informational resources toward evolving to infinite heights of discovery, especially as pertaining to mood. As such, this “Samantha,” as she calls herself, becomes the second woman in his life who brings him into a range of problematics where he performs badly—but not, as with his ex, Catherine, hopelessly.


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by Allan Fish

(Japan 1952 97m) DVD6 (Hong Kong only)

Aka. Gembaku no ko

 The consolation of living

p  Kozaburo Yoshimura  d/w  Kaneto Shindo  ph  Takeo Ito  m  Akira Ifukibe  art  Takashi Marumo

Nobuko Otowa (Takako Ishikawa), Chikako Hosokawa (Setsu, her mother), Masao Shimizu (Toshiaki, her father), Osamu Takizawa (Iwakichi), Miwa Saito (Natsue Morikawa), Yuriko Hanabusa (Oine), Tanie Kitabayashi (Otoyo), Tsutomu Shimomoto (Natsue’s husband), Shinya Ofuji, Tsuneko Yamanaka, Takashi Ito, Eijiro Tono,

When one considers the cataclysmic effects of the dropping of the first atom bomb that fateful August morning in 1945 it’s perhaps surprising that so few notable Japanese films have sought to examine its effects and to perform the autopsy on the vanished society.  (Or maybe not so surprising, for Japan only rebuilt itself by not looking back).  Only Imamura’s Black Rain comes to mind in recent decades, but while an unforgettable film in its own right, it had the feel of reconstruction, of looking back on an event in Japan’s history.  In Children of Hiroshima, less than ten years have passed.  It feels more like current affairs, its effects still being felt and lived, its battered landscape partly rebuilt as they did in Dresden and indeed in London’s East End after the blitz.  (more…)

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by Sam Juliano

A dull cold kept the NYC area on chill mode for most of the past week, with one day off good behavior.  That day was of course Super Bowl Sunday, traditionally one of the most celebratory occasions on the American calender.  The Seattle Seahawks blew out the Denver Broncos by a whopping 49-8 score at nearby Giants Stadium on the mildest weather day of the week, just hours before yet another substantial snowfall  is set to start in the NYC area.  In any case congratulations are in order for our very good friend Patricia Hamilton of Washington State, who no doubt was over the moon after the home team Seahawks took apart the vaunted Broncos in one of the most lob-sided Super Bowls ever. (more…)

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