NYC got really cold this week, which was bad because who wants to cover up their fabulous new haircut/color with a winter cap. But it is also good in a way because I don't feel as bad staying indoors painting all day. And a couple things are keeping me going right now, too: the first being the Czech filmmaker Jan Švankmajer's 1988 masterpiece "Alice", a sort of retelling of "Alice in Wonderland" using dolls, taxidermy and stop motion animation among other things.
It's the kind of film I return to from time to time mainly because its imagery is probably some of the most original I've ever seen. The story of Alice in Wonderland is so old and probably not very fresh anymore because of countless retellings. But Švankmajer's film has a strong, unique vision that lingers in your brain. It's dark, though not bleak or grotesque. Švankmajer's "Alice" isn't a long film either. It always ends sooner than I expect, like waking up suddenly from a weird dream that borders on nightmare territory.
Also, I'm feeling very inspired by Catherine Ribeiro + the Alpes, a fantastic French avant-garde rock band from the 70's.
My Spotify-dependent listening habits have been wearing me down a bit lately, and I've just been so eager for some fresh music that you can't stream online or on an app. Then I got my hands on the albums "Paix" (1972) and "Le Rat Debile Et L'Jomme Des Champs" (1974) from Ribeiro + the Alpes, and was immediately blown away. I became wrapped up in this world that sounded like a mixture of Nico, Sonic Youth and Goblin.
It's good music to work to. Totally psychedelic. Long tracks that seem more like experiences than actual songs. (At some points I'm reminded of early-Magik Markers and can better see the road paved for them by acts like Ribeiro + the Alpes.) Ribeiro's voice is so powerful. She uses it like an instrument, and it's the true centerpiece of the music.
So, check out "Alice" and Catherine Ribeiro + the Alpes. Get in the fall/winter spirit.