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J LHLS Archives: June 2006
Saturday, June 24, 2006
Gun X Sword, Vol. 1 (DVD)
Review by Tom Good
"He's not wearing a tuxedo!" That is what I kept wanting to yell at the screen as I watched Gun X Sword. Van, the main character, is oddly proportioned -- tall and spindly with thighs that look barely larger than his wrists. He wears an unusual outfit that stands out in the Western-style environment of the show, and other characters keep commenting on his "tuxedo." In fact, episode 1 is even titled Tuxedo Blowing in the Wind. But Van wears a long black tail coat which reaches to the ground, with a white shirt, bolo tie, and black hat. A tuxedo involves a short dinner jacket without tails, and usually a bow tie and a vest or cummerbund. A long black tail coat is not a tuxedo, especially if it has strange wide straps all over it.
But there is more to Gun X Sword than odd notions about formal wear. In the beginning it seems like a Western. A small town is threatened by a gang of outlaws called "The Wild Bunch" -- a reference to the title of a 1969 Western film. Van walks in just as the bad guys are attacking a cute girl named Wendy. He rescues her, and she offers to marry him if he helps save the town. He has no interest in marriage to such a young girl, but he allows Wendy to tag along with him. [more]
Posted by Tom Good @ 12:08 AM PST [Link]
Thursday, June 22, 2006
By Isabel Allende
Translated from the Spanish by Margaret Sayers Peden
Published by HarperCollins Publishers, 2005
Review by Ida Vega-Landow
Attention Baby Boomers! With all the movies being made and remade nowadays about our favorite childhood heroes, I think it's high time someone wrote a book about the noblest one of all. I'm talking about Zorro, the swashbuckling Spanish hero from the 18th Century, when California was still part of Spain.
Good old Zorro; no superpowers like Superman, no extraordinary senses like Daredevil, no metamorphic changes over which he has no control like the Hulk, no abilities brought on by radiation or laboratory accident like Spiderman or the Fantastic Four. Just a brave man in a mask and cape (like Batman, but blessedly angst-free), armed with a sword and a sense of justice, taking on the powers that be for the sake of the poor and helpless. A true hero, in the style of Robin Hood, who takes from the rich to give to the poor and never kills unless it is absolutely necessary. And, need I add, a much better role model for our Latino youth than the freaking Frito Bandito, who was just plain embarrassing, or even Desi Arnez, the only other Latino on TV to portray our people in a positive light on the long-running sitcom "I Love Lucy". [more]
Posted by Ida Vega Landow @ 02:15 PM PST [Link]
Wednesday, June 21, 2006
Para Para Max: The Moves 101
Review by Leigh Anne Wilson
I have to confess I know virtually nothing at all about anime. My kids were too little for the Pokemon mania, so the most exposure I have to it is watching Hayao Miyazaki’s Spirited Away. This is a little like saying I’m qualified to review movies because I watched Citizen Kane once.
This means I had to do a little research, and I do mean little, about the subject so could at least get a working definition of what is a huge, already much-discussed topic. When poking around on the internet, I learned that anime dancing is a huge industry in Japan, and most of the A list musicians record music for Japanese cartoons, which in turn becomes a big part of Japanese pop music. It doesn’t really seem too dissimilar from, say, Radio Disney, which plays Nathan Lane singing “Hakuna Matata.” It’s just that there’s a lot more focus on that sort of thing in Japan, it seems. [more]
Posted by Leigh Anne Wilson @ 08:13 PM PST [Link]
Starship Operators, Vol. 3: Truth (DVD)
Review by Tom Good
Since it is World Cup time, I will attempt a soccer metaphor. If Volume 1 of Starship Operators was a brilliant defensive play to win possession of the ball, and Volume 2 was solid, precise passing through the midfield to set up the attack, then Volume 3 is the daring sprint down the wing, the perfectly placed cross, and the spectacular bicycle kick that scores the game-winning goal. I sat down intending to watch one episode, and I could not tear myself away until I had watched all five episodes in one sitting and reached the conclusion of the series. It is that good. Starship Operators is one of the best short anime series I have seen. [more]
Posted by Tom Good @ 06:03 PM PST [Link]
Monday, June 19, 2006
May 27, 2006 through June 25, 2006
Avenue 50 Studio
131 N. Avenue 50
323 258 1435
Gallery Review by Lui Sanchez
Recent artworks by Val Echavarria and Samantha Harrison are presented at the Avenue 50 Studio exhibition of Communication Consumption. Here the two women enter into dialogues between themselves and us on obsessive and often absurd manifestations of communication and consumption. Their artworks are visually delightful, compact, precise and engaging, but embody a more acute if not darker realization of human personification that is worthy of our attention and investigation. [more]
Posted by Lui Sanchez @ 03:11 PM PST [Link]
The Cricket Winter
By Felice Holman
Illustrated by Robyn Thomas
Published by Eerdmans Books
Release date: July 29, 2006 (excerpt)
Review by Kathryn Ramage
"If ever there were a cricket who really had something to say? to some boy, for example? he could probably do very well at it, if he had the heart to make the effort. This is a story about a cricket with a heart."
And so begins this charming children's story, about a cricket named Orthoptera Gryllidae (all crickets are named Orthoptera Gryllidae), who learns to communicate with a nine-year-old boy named Simms Silvanus, through Morse Code. [more]
Posted by Kathryn L Ramage @ 01:12 PM PST [Link]
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