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Chaplin's Moustache

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Living under a Paris opera house sounds dreamy, but according to every version of The Phantom of the Opera, you’ve gotta be wearing a threatening mask or sporting some gnarly makeup to make it work.  Sure, wreaking havoc on the big show with a bit of well-intended murder means work is involved, but otherwise, you’ve got it made.

Phantom has obvious appeal–Paris, the opera, an underground necropolis, and a villain with an inferiority complex who rivals Glenn Close in Fatal Attraction.  But why return to the original, a silent version from 1925?  While it’s definitely outdated and even dull at times, the answer rests in the phantom’s hands (and a dapper Grim Reaper outfit).  Is he overly dramatic?  Sure.  A bit needy, demanding, and scarily bent on cohabitation?  Definitely!  I mean, why commit to moving into your boyfriend’s underground crypt unless you are sure he’ll be dusting his pipe organ and vacuuming his coffin once in a while?

The truth is that the phantom, AKA Erik, is legitimately and disturbingly creepy, and almost a century later, nothing can take that away from him.

Want those hairs on the back of your head to start dancing?  Watch this movie, play this mix, and get something going.

The Phantom of the Opera, 1925
Starring: Lon Chaney, Mary Philbin, Norman Kerry
Directed by: Rupert Julian
Why to watch it: If you’re into scary movies, this is one of the first.  Tap into Freddie and every nightmare you’ve ever had on Elm Street by watching this film.
Don’t worry: By modern standards, this is a slow moving effort in terror creation.  Don’t expect Jack Nicholson to jump out, eyebrows furled, shouting “Here’s Johnny!” but give it a go.  And this mix definitely takes the watch-the-grass-growing edge off.

You can stream the mix here or watch it on youtube.

The Phantom of the Opera Mix includes:
1. It’s Getting Boring by the Sea / Blood Red Shoes
2. BLUREMI / Blur
3. Dating Cops / Intelligence
4. The Horror / RJD2
5. Running Scared / Roy Orbison
6. Behave Yourself / Booker T & the MG’s
7. Bye Bye Baby / Professor Longhair
8. Candy Man / Roy Orbison
9. Sun Lips / Black Moth Super Rainbow
10. Everybody Needs Somebody to Love / Solomon Burke
11. Trouble Comes Knocking / Timber Timbre
12. Fear / Benjy Ferree
13. Lujon / Henry Mancini
14. Young Blood / The Coasters
15. Christine / Siouxsie & the Banshees
16. Choppers / Holy Fuck
17. The House that Jack Built / Aretha Franklin
18. The Night Life / John Doe & the Sadies
19. Baby Got Going / Liz Phair
20. Anti-Love Song / Betty Davis
21. Dance this Mess Around / The B-52’s
22. Scary Monsters & Super Creeps / David Bowie
23. Transport is Arranged / Pavement
24. Here Comes my Hand / Bodies of Water
25. Less Unless / Civil Civic
26. G Spot Tornado / Frank Zappa
27. Little Green Bag / George Baker Selection
28. North Wind / Houston Wells & the Marksmen


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What’s a fella to do when plagued with the double whammy of artistic doubt and an overpowering pressure to succeed, all while his personal life is a jumble of wives, mistresses, and animosity towards the Catholic church?  Make like Federico Fellini, and turn lemons into refreshing, Oscar-laden lemonade.

Federico Fellini’s 8 1/2 follows an established director, Guido, as he films a movie despite worries that it may flop.  His glamorous life is upstaged by dream-like sequences that refer to his childhood, relationships with women, and a disconnect with people in his life, which he ultimately tries to repair through his art.

8 1/2, 1963
Starring: Marcello Mastroianni, Anouk Aimée
Directed by: Federico Fellini

You can stream the mix here or watch part of it on youtube.

In 8 1/2 Mix:

1.  Breezin’ Along with the Breeze / Josephine Baker
2. Perfume-V / Pavement
3. The Fear / Lily Allen
4. The Pearls / Jelly Roll Morton
5. Bye Bye Blackbird / Billie Holiday
6. Alameda, Elliott Smith
7. Future Primitive / Papercuts
8. These Arms of Mine / Solomon Burke
9. Mr. Grieves, The Pixies
10. 15 Step / Radiohead
11. I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend, The Ramones
12. Now I Wanna Sniff Some Glue, The Ramones
13. Hustlin’ Blues / Ma Rainey
14. Fools Rush In, Ricky Nelson
15. Pas Fait En Chocolat / Tricot Machine
16. Loving Cup, The Rolling Stones
17. Acid in My Heart, The Sleepy Jackson
18. Is This It / The Strokes
19. Take Me to the River, The Talking Heads
20. Jesus / The Velvet Underground
21. There’ll Be a Hot Time in Old Town Tonight, Bessie Smith
22. Skara Brain / Feathers
23. Milkshake, Holy Fuck
24. Black Bottom Stomp, Jelly Roll Morton
25. Smoke Gets in Your Eyes / Peggy Lee
26. Let it Loose, The Rolling Stones
27. Gila, Beach House
28. Atmospheric Conditions / Beck
29. Maybe, Janis Joplin
30. Gimme a Pigfoot, Bessie Smith
31. Too Many Drivers / Big Bill Broonzy
32. Debaser, The Pixies
33. Stop Breaking Down, The Rolling Stones
34. Mama Said There’d Be Days Like This / The Shirelles
35. Willis, Sea of Bees
36. God Only Knows, The Beach Boys
37. Rock Me No. 1 / Sister Rosetta Tharpe
38. M’Lady, Sly & the Family Stone
39. Trouble in Mind, Aretha Franklin
40. Just Like a Baby / Sly & the Family Stone
41. A Fine Romance, Billie Holiday
42. Born on a Day the Sun Didn’t Rise, Black Moth Super Rainbow

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Fritz Lang’s Metropolis has just the right mixture of robots and revolution to be considered a treasure from the early years of film.  Lang’s dystopian vision of the future involves a privileged, prince-type character who ventures into the depths of a subterranean city populated by workers who can’t leave their machines.  Along the way, you meet the city’s architect, a mad scientist, a robot-witch, and a priestess who resembles a young Emma Goldman.

Metropolis, 1927
Starring: Gustav Fröhlich, Brigitte Helm, Alfred Abel, Rudolf Klein-Rogge
Directed by: Fritz Lang
Why watch it: Before computers were invented, robots appear in this movie as part of the message that technology can be an instrument of control.  Lang may have been inspired by the burst of factories during the early 20th century, but this idea is more relevant than ever.  Also, with footage discovered in 2008, the restored version of this film is incredibly cohesive and poignant.

Metropolis Mix Contains:

1. I’m Coming Home / The Almighty Defenders
2. Look Up, Look Down That Lonesome Road / The Delmore Brothers
3. Clap Hands / Tom Waits
4. I Can’t Get Started with You, Bunny Berigan
5. Saint James Infirmary, Cab Calloway
6. Trouble in Mind / Fats Domino
7. Make Someone Happy, Jimmy Durante
8. Smokestack Lightning / The Yardbirds
9. Please Don’t Talk about Me When I’m Gome, Ethel Waters
10. Stupidity Tries, Elliott Smith
11. Doctor Jazz, Jelly Roll Morton & His Red Hot Peppers
12. Drugs / Black Lips
13. Blue Yodel No. 5, Gene Autry
14. Long Tall Sally, Little Richard
15. Time / David Bowie
16. Alone in Kyoto / Air
17. Peace in the Valley, Sister Rosetta Tharpe
18. Pearl’s Dream / Bat for Lashes
19. Stillness is the Move, The Dirty Projectors
20. Shout, Sister, Shout / The Boswell Sisters
21. Blue Horizon, Sidney Bechet
22. Red Reflection, Spindrift
23. You Gotta Move / Sister Rosetta Tharpe
24. Ace Coltrane, Spindrift
25.  Let’s Get it On, Marvin Gaye
26. (My Heart Goes) Piddly Patter Patter / Nappy Brown
27.  Neutron Dance, The Pointer Sisters
28. Jigsaw Falling into Place, Radiohead
29. Glory Box / Portishead
30. Speed Trials, Elliott Smith
31. My Little Underground, The Jesus & Mary Chain
32. Back Street / Dale Hawkins
33. Wildlife Sculpture, The Generationals
34. Left Hand Luke, T-Rex
35. Oh! Sweet Nothin’ / The Velvet Underground
36. Fire, RJD2
37. Wire to the Walls / RTB2
38. 2 Wicky, Hooverphonic
39. Mr. Grieves, The Pixies
40. I’ll Get By, Ruth Etting
41. Boogie Woogie Baby, The Delmore Brothers

Stream extended version here or view part of the mix on youtube.
Stream mix for the 124 minute cut here.

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Pandora’s Box follows the rise and fall of Lulu, a showgirl who goes into hiding after a murder accusation threatens to ruin her.  In this movie, anyone is corruptible, and Lulu is probably at the heart of that corruption.

Pandora’s Box, 1929
Starring: Louise Brooks, Fritz Kortner, Francis Lederer
Directed by: G. W. Pabst
Why to watch it: Louise Brooks is made of dynamite.  While the storyline forces her character into the role of an amoral hedonist, Brooks’ performance itself challenges this pigeonholing.

Pandora’s Box Playlist Contains:
1. You Better Change, Alberta Hunter
2. Let’s Have a Party / Amos Milburn
3. Maple Leaf Rag, Jelly Roll Morton
4. Well Well Well, Lucinda Williams
5. 12th Street Rag, Louis Armstrong & Jack Teagarden
6. The Flirt, Shirley & Lee
7. What is This Thing Called Love, Sidney Bechet
8. Lulu’s Back in Town, Fats Waller
9. Be Bop a Lula, Gene Vincent
10. Any Old Time, Helen Forrest & Artie Shaw
11. When They Fight, They Fight / The Generationals
12. Tain’t Nobody’s Business if I Do, Bessie Smith
13. Pennies from Heaven, Billie Holiday
14. Moi Je Joue, Brigitte Bardot
15. I Can’t Give You Anything but Love, Ethel Waters
16. Aba Daba Honeymoon, Helen Kane
17. Pitseleh, Elliott Smith
18. Frankie & Johnny, Ethel Waters
19. Careless Love Blues, Bessie Smith
20. Moanin’ Low, Billie Holiday
21. Sweet Adeline, Elliott Smith
22. Alligator Crawl, Fats Waller
23. Everybody Needs Somebody to Love, Solomon Burke
24. I Am Nothing, Nellie McKay
25. Nude, Radiohead
26. Any Old Actress, Rasputina
27. Smoke and Mirrors, RJD2
28. Drunken Hearted Man, Robert Johnson
29. Ten Cents a Dance, Ruth Etting
30. Que Sera Sera, Sly & the Family Stone
31. None of Us Are Free, Solomon Burke
32. Cause I Feel Low Down, Sophie Tucker
33. Anywhere I Lay My Head, Tom Waits
34. Ain’t Got Nobody to Grind my Coffee, Clara Smith
35. Nobody Knows You When You’re Down and Out, LaVern Baker
36. Slim’s Return, Madlib
37. Mr. E. Leon Rauis, Rasputina
38. Mood Indigo, Sidney Bechet
39. The Sun ain’t Shining No More, The Asteroids Galaxy Tour

Stream mix here, or watch a selection of clips from the film/mix on youtube.

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