Sunday, May 29, 2011

Le Sacre du Printemps

Rite of Spring, Joffrey Ballet

The ballet, Rite of Spring, premiered on this date in 1913 at the Theatre des Champs-Elysees in Paris. The music was composed by Igor Stravinsky. It is intended to portray an ancient pagan ritual in which a young maiden dances herself to death as a sacrificial offer to the God of Spring. The music and choreography were so unconventional that a small riot broke out during the performance.

Over time, it has become an iconic example of 20th century classical music.

Desiree Lubowsky, 1924

So, let's listen to some "savage" sounds.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Shaken, Not Stirred

On this date in 1908, Ian Fleming was born. There is much to say about him, but the thing that for which he is most famous is his creation of James Bond, the protagonist of a series of Spy novels. Although the novels were very popular, it was their adaptation to the cinema that made them into pop culture icons.

There is so much that I can write about this topic. In my youth, I was crazy about Spy stories, developed out of my enthusiasm for the James Bond movies and novels. Yeah, there are better, more cohesive novels then Fleming's, but I give him a pass for being a primary inspiration of the genre.

Likewise, the movies can be a bit silly from time to time. But that's part of the Bond charm. ;-)

Live and Let Die

In regards to the movies, one of the things that I enjoy the most is the theme music.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Friday's Flowers of the Night

The Night Dances

A smile fell in the grass.

And how will your night dances
Lose themselves. In mathematics?

Such pure leaps and spirals ----
Surely they travel

The world forever, I shall not entirely
Sit emptied of beauties, the gift

Of your small breath, the drenched grass
Smell of your sleeps, lilies, lilies.

Their flesh bears no relation.
Cold folds of ego, the calla,

And the tiger, embellishing itself ----
Spots, and a spread of hot petals.

The comets
Have such a space to cross,

Such coldness, forgetfulness.
So your gestures flake off ----

Warm and human, then their pink light
Bleeding and peeling

Through the black amnesias of heaven.
Why am I given

These lamps, these planets
Falling like blessings, like flakes

Six sided, white
On my eyes, my lips, my hair

Touching and melting.

Well, we've come to another holiday weekend. That means my posting will be fairly scarce over the next few days. But I might find time to do quick "link" posts to keep all you all entertained and informed. ;-)


Wishing a Happy Birthday to Siouxsie Sioux, born on this date in 1957.

Yeah, I have an eclectic taste in music. Although I never got into the Goth scene of the late '80s and early 90s, I enjoyed the music. Certainly, it could get a bit overwrought and angsty to the point of hilarity, but, when the excesses of pathos are avoided, there were some memorable works of music. Now, I wouldn't classify Siouxsie and the Banshees as just a Goth band, because their music has notable post-punk elements that don't fit well with the Gothic aesthetic. It's probably most accurate to label them as "alternative rock".

Whatever you want to call them, Siouxsie and the Banshees were wonderfully experimental. Heck, they even have a song that uses the glockenspiel!!!

So let's get to the music.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Children of the Night

Nosferatu, 1922

On this date in 1897, Dracula by Bram Stoker was published. It wasn't the first treatment of the vampire in Gothic literature and it may not be the best of the lot, but it certainly was the most influential. Tales of vampires had existed for countless centuries. Yet, it was this book that drew together the salient elements of the folklore and wove it into a coherent and memorable tale.

I am a hardcore enthusiast of horror fiction, but vampires have never been my thing. I prefer the forlorn haunting of classic ghost stories or the cosmic weirdness of Lovecraftian horror. There has always been a geeky power fantasy underlying the vampire narrative. This has become more prominent in recent years, such as in the writings of Anne Rice or Stephenie Meyer, to choose two from among many.

Dracula (1931), Bela Lugosi as Dracula and Frances Dade as Lucy

I know many horror enthusiasts HATE the angsty vamps and sparkly vamps. But I'd argue that these types are but realizations of the unstated attraction that vampires have always had, even back in the earliest Gothic examples.

But should vampires be the "good guys" of the narrative?

Birth of the Cool

On this date in 1926, Miles Davis was born. Without a doubt, Davis was among the most influential of jazz musicians. He was a leading innovator from the post-Swing era to jazz fusion. His creative legacy not only remains a vital force in contemporary jazz, but has spread out to influence the broader musical tradition.

When I first started studying jazz, the music of Miles Davis was my guide. The early history of jazz is easy to follow. You start off with the roots of Ragtime and the blues, then enter into traditional jazz (New Orleans/Chicago style), which transforms into Swing and the Big Band era. Then it wraps up into bebop. After this point, things get a bit complicated. You have a mix of wildly diverse styles and techniques competing with each other.

However, this is the era of Miles Davis. And he explores the entirety of the jazz scene through his music. Just listen to his albums and you can hear the trends and techniques of the day.

So, let's get to the music

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The Body Never Lies

Insouciance (2011) by Robert L. Schultz

The Koplin Del Rio Gallery in Culver City currently has an exhibit of drawings by Robert L. Schultz. Of the 15 works on display, most of them are graphite on paper. And all of them are figure pieces, devoid of color. Yeah, that doesn't sound too exciting, but I really enjoyed the show. These works are exquisitely detailed with subtle gradations of value. This creates a physicality to the figures, with texture, contour, and depth. The images project a compelling material presence.

There really isn't a coherent theme to the show. Three pieces are standard nudes. Three are of luchadores. Four are of a female model. Three are of a male model with short hair. Two are of a male model with notable tattoos. The only commonality to these works is the aforementioned sense of physical authenticity. These figures look like you can reach into the drawing and touch them.

Woven Rug (2009) by Robert L. Schultz

But there is more to these drawings than mere material illusionism.

Take My Waking Slow

A Great Wish by Loretta Yang

Theodore Roethke was born on this date in 1908. His book, The Waking: Poems 1933-1953, won the 1954 Pulitzer Prize for poetry.

The Waking
(by Theodore Roethke)

I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.
I feel my fate in what I cannot fear.
I learn by going where I have to go.

We think by feeling. What is there to know?
I hear my being dance from ear to ear.
I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.

Of those so close beside me, which are you?
God bless the Ground! I shall walk softly there,
And learn by going where I have to go.

Light takes the Tree; but who can tell us how?
The lowly worm climbs up a winding stair;
I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.

Great Nature has another thing to do
To you and me; so take the lively air,
And, lovely, learn by going where to go.

This shaking keeps me steady. I should know.
What falls away is always. And is near.
I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.
I learn by going where I have to go.

I appreciate the confessional, vulnerable mood of his poetry. Although the delivery of feeling is direct, I'm intrigued by the obscurity of meaning and circumstance. Some confessional poets get really detailed in their autobiographical expressions. Roethke keeps just enough mystery to maintain a broadness of significance and flexibility of situation.

Mono No Aware

Coast Redwood by Elissa Hoxie

I had the opportunity to attend the Bonsai show at the South Coast Botanic Garden. Although I'm not a gardener myself, I appreciate the artistry of fine gardening. Perhaps the apex of botanical aesthetic design is the bonsai tree. The years of careful cultivation and arrangement that goes into a bonsai is impressive.

The aesthetic rules of bonsai cultivation can be simplified down to Five Basic Rules:

The first rule is miniaturization. The literal meaning of bonsai is "plantings in tray". But this isn't as easy as it sounds. The photo at the top is of a redwood, a tree type that can grow to over 300 feet tall!!! Controlling growth spurts while maintaining plant health is a difficult task.

Olive by Elissa Hoxie

The second rule is proportion. Although the tree is kept in miniature, all of its elements must be kept at a similar proportion. This includes the leaves!!! Check out the olive tree in the photo above. These trees are noted for having large clusters of small leaves. How can one replicate such an effect while keeping the tree healthy? Well, there is a functional minimal limit to how small you can get the leaves, but the cluster may be thinned out, giving the impression of proportionality. Therefore, although leaf size is disproportional, the overall foliage proportion is maintained. This effect takes a lot of maintenance.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Feel Like Running and Dancing for Joy

Caroline Wozniacki, Seed #1

The French Open has begun.

Yeah, I enjoy watching tennis, especially when it is played on clay. The surface characteristic of clay takes away the advantage of "serve dependant" players. On clay, you need to volley. That means a lot of athleticism as you run back and forth across the court. And it requires a strong tactical approach, as you attempt to maneuver your opponent into providing an opening.

There's no winning solely from baseline at Roland Garros. For instance, the most dominant female players of the past decade have been the Williams sisters, Venus and Serena. Both are dominant servers and highly focused upon power plays from the baseline, but, between the two of them, they have only one French Open singles win (Serena in 2002).

And so I find watching the French Open to be the most engaging of the Grand Slam events.

Jelena Janković, Seed #10

So, who am I rooting for?

Neo-Feminist Road Movie

Twenty years ago, Thelma & Louise hit the theaters. The movies starts off as a "buddy movie" as Thelma (Geena Davis), a housewife, and Louise (Susan Sarandon), a single waitress, head out for a two-day fishing trip in a '66 Thunderbird. But on their way, troubles occur that send the ladies onto a path of violence and lawlessness, transforming it into a neo-western "outlaw" story. The film's plot is vigorous and dynamic as the protagonists turn from being helpless victims of a misogynistic society to empowered deciders of their own destiny.

I remember when the Friday night when it opened. My group of friends was deciding what we were going to see at the theaters that evening. I voted for Backdraft, an arson-based action thriller starring Kurt Russell. The other two males of the group voted for Hudson Hawk, a stupid action comedy starring Bruce Willis, an actor that I absolutely can't stand. The three women of our group kept a united vote for Thelma & Louise. And so the ladies won the night.

Expecting two hours of man-hating, I settled in for the movie. (Anyways, it couldn't be worse than Hudson Hawk, right?)

The story surprised me.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Under the Moons of Mars

Bellona by Nicholas Kahn and Richard Selesnick

I have long been a fan of planetary romances. The idea of ancient alien civilizations upon distant planets has captured my imagination. I've often considered writing within the genre, but I worry that I'd end up writing some imitative tripe, a Barsoom rip-off. To a degree, the entire subgenre can be described as a reiteration upon the themes that Edgar Rice Burroughs set forth in the novel A Princess of Mars.

A good planetary romance explores the concept of "civilization" by constructing alien societies and assessing them through a narrative with which the reader can closely identify. So ideas, such as decadence, patriotism, isolationism or exploitation, are integral elements of the subgenre. Yet, while these ideas play across the narrative, it is under an atmospheric mood of loneliness and yearning. The narrator is a "stranger in a strange land".

And it is the ability to capture this mood that I find so compelling in the Kopeikin Gallery's exhibit "Mars: Adrift on the Hourglass Sea. Desolation and the Sublime on a Distant Planet" by Nicholas Kahn and Richard Selesnick.

Earthrise by Nicholas Kahn and Richard Selesnick

Bigger Than Life

Thirty years ago, Kim Carnes was dominating the Billboard Hot 100 with "Bette Davis Eyes". It would spend a total of nine weeks at the top spot and win the Grammy for Song of the Year. The song is about an aggressively sexual woman, with undercurrents of deception and objectification. Behind her external charms, she's a manipulative person, willing to use you for her own gratification.

"She'll take a tumble on you
Roll you like you were dice
Until you come up blue
She's got Bette Davis eyes."

Here's the original vid:

A great deal can be said for the vocal qualities of the performance or the engaging rhythm, but I think that the thing that makes this song stand out is the evocative qualities associated with the primary cultural reference, the "Bette Davis" eyes.

Fifth Weekly Wrap Up

LJ and the Bamboo Path

Another week of fun and games has drawn to an end here at Paideia. I'm a bit mixed on my assessments of this week's production. In terms of quantity it was a let down. With only twelve posts, I averaged less than two per day. That's a slacker pace and needs to be improved.

On the other hand, I'm fairly pleased with the quality of my posts, a few of which were long articles with ample photos and vids. These mega-posts could have been broken down into multiple smaller length pieces. So, I guess that evens it out. The post count may be smaller but the amount of stuff to read is maintained.

But most importantly. . .

1969 Dodge Charger "General Lee" from the Dukes of Hazzard (credit: Warner Bros.)

I've learned how to jump!!!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

This Time I'm Doing It

While You Wait for Another (2011) By Pakayla Rae Biehn

It's been a long time since I've visited a gallery on the opening night of an exhibit. I'm more of a late Thursday afternoon art haunt. Well, this Saturday I decided to change up the routine and attend an opening. Thinkspace Gallery in Culver City is one of my favorite venues and the show included art by Pakayla Rae Biehn, an artist towards whom I have great admiration. The show was entitled "Being There" and also featured the work of Jeff Ramirez, a hyperrealistic painter.

And so I braved actual contact with people to bring you this report. ;-)

Sissy Spacek (2011) by Jeff Ramirez

Both artists featured in "Being There" are big on realism in detail and figural representation, but seem to avoid clear facial depictions. This creates a tension in the image between the specific and the ambiguous. This may be the aesthetic theme of the show. The meticulous realism of the details creates a basis or "ground" for a coherent sense of actuality; there is something there. However, the missing piece or obscurement undermines this coherence. Both artists create this tension in different manners.

Space Is the Place

On this date in 1914, Sun Ra (born Herman Poole Blount) was born. Among all the jazz greats, he was the most eclectic and innovative. His utilization of an afrofuturistic blend of Egyptian/Nubian and Science Fiction elements into his persona and performances really stood out from the crowd. Stylistically, this influence can be seen during the Funk and Disco eras with such bands as Parliament/Funkadelic and Earth, Wind, and Fire. Moreover, in spite of the avant garde nature of his music, the afrofuturism always kept a playful mood, avoiding the self-important seriousness of other cutting edge jazz composers.

As regards his music, he was a prolific composer and performer willing to try out all kinds of new styles. Usually, the result is very engaging. And that's the crux to appreciating Sun Ra's work. Given the vast diverse influences that he incorporates into his music and the experimental improvisation of his performances, it is really difficult to make recommendations in regards to his music. Personally, I like his proto-space music music most, with their rich ambient drones and and exotic rhythms.

Here are two of my favorite pieces:

I hope you check out his music. Sun Ra is unfairly overlooked in surveys of jazz. I only heard of him when he passed away in 1993. That boggles my mind because I had a decent awareness of the history of jazz. And yet somehow this fantastic innovator totally escaped my awareness.

Here's a link to Sun Ra's Wikipedia page.


Saturday, May 21, 2011

Flying Elbow Drop

I'm not one for in memoriam-style posts, but, as an advertising enthusiast, I'd like to remember the genius of the Slim Jim commercials featuring Randy Savage. They were crazy. The tagline "Snap into a Slim Jim!" followed by random explosions and devastation could only appeal to a young teen male, which was the target audience. Seriously, how can anybody think that vigorously chomping into a nasty "meat" stick handed to you by a weird "muscle man" with a beard was cool? Yet, for all its absurdity, the commercials pulled it off.

Check out the first ad of the series, "Art Thou Bored?":

Sadly, after about five years, the ad campaign played itself out as Randy Savage was summoning up tornadoes and cattle stampedes with a "snap!"

Nevertheless, check out the lameness of the following ad campaigns, like "Eat Me":

Or the idiotic Snapalope:

Or the Edge and his "Spicy Side":

It's clear that the outrageous exuberance of the Macho Man was an essential part of the Slim Jim charm that mere aggressive wackiness cannot duplicate. We mourn his passing.

Here's are a few links:

Randy Savage's Wikipedia page.

The Slim Jim Wikipedia page.


Eight Dance Songs for May

I'm a fan of dance music. Popular songs that are specifically designed for dancing have a certain functionality that no amount of hype can fake. It needs to get you up on your feet and kickin'. Even with horrendous lyrics or rough vocals, if it makes you move to the groove, it is a successful dance song.

So, let's check out some tunes from the month of May over the decades:

In 1971, we have Funk music coming onto the scene.

In 1976, the Diva of Disco is ascendant with her second dance hit.

In 1981, Disco is dying.

In 1986, Freestyle has gone semi-mainstream. (BTW, it's weird to think of Buttercup of the Powerpuff Girls or Tommy Pickles of the Rugrats as a "lolita").

In 1991, this is House music! ;-)

In 1996, we have to beginnings of Trip-Hop.

In 2001, the era of bland prepackaged pop music has even weakened the Dance charts.

In 2006, a House resurgence, with more of an electronica feel?

Anyways, it's interesting to do a quick survey of the trends of the past. It's like looking at a map that shows a fascinating geography of style and time. Of these eight songs, my favorite is Vanessa Daou.


Friday, May 20, 2011

Nature and Circles, Jazz and Lights

Last Saturday, I was able to attend LACMA's ArtWalk festivities. Being a member, the free admission doesn't do much for me, but I do appreciate the opportunity to enjoy some performance art. This year I was able to catch four performances, as well as poke around the galleries.

Now, I'm not well versed in interpretive dance and the techniques of expressive motion. Often times, while looking at a performance, I find myself confused as to the premise of the piece. I'm rarely comfortable determining the choreographer's "meaning" or intent. Therefore, I no longer try. When experiencing performance art, it's all about what the piece means to me.

That being said, here's what I saw:

Skin and Nature

Audience looks down from above.
 This piece took place at the parking structure elevators, across all three levels. Choreographed by Michel Kouakou, this piece featured performances by the choreographer, Nerissa Castelija, Wilfried Souly, Dorothy Chen, Alexandra Mathews, and Samantha Mohr. The music was Raag Jog and Raag Behaag, works of Indian classical music.

The program notes read:
"In this piece, the dancers explore the ground in contact with their body and mind, trying to create a connection with the earth. The performance is a representation of the mother of all humanity who gives birth to bodies and also receives those bodies in the afterlife."
Alright. I think I get that. Certainly, contact with the ground was an important element to the performance. For instance, there was a part where two of the dancers faced each other, but separated by the window of the elevator. One was on the ground, while the other was enclosed within the elevator.

Was the elevator ascended, the dancers were separated and each began moving with frantic energy. The dancer on the ground moved against the window as though in anguish, while the dancer ascending continued her motions as before.

I think this signifies that the ascending dancer is ignorant of her alienation from the ground, while her partner feels pain at this loss. Alternatively, perhaps the ascending dancer represents Transcendence into the afterlife while the grounded dancer mourns. In any case, the utilization of the three levels of the elevator was well done. Leaving the ground, looking down upon the ground, and moving upon the ground had clear significances.

For instance:

At the base of the palm tree, two dancers move in the "rain" and mud in a manner evocative of both conflict and sex, while two other dancers look on from above. Finally, a third dancer travels in-between levels, climbing from post to post and avoiding the ground. I have no suggestions as to what this signifies, but it is an intriguing arrangement.

Finally, it all ends in the "rain" and mud at the base of the palm tree. I suppose that the palm symbolizes the Mother and the "wetness" is the primordial grounds of creation. The bodies have returned in death to their place of birth. This was a good performance. I really enjoyed Skins and Nature.

Collaborative Improvisation at the Urban Lights

This piece was much more challenging for me. Two rows of colorfully attired performers lined up in opposition at the north and south sections of the Urban Lights sculpture, similar to chessboard pieces. They began a slow back and forth movement along their designated column. (Row = X-Axis, Column = Y-Axis). Then the pace started to pick up and the performers began to occasionally leave their columns and travel in a perpendicular angle along the rows. However, this variation of speed and direction was not universal.

Moreover, sometimes a perform would kneel, sit, or lie down.

At that point, I started wondering if the performance was about the bustle of modern life. Among the dominating structures of Urban Lights, the paths are well defined but lead nowhere. One area of the Lights is more or less the same as any other. The constant drive of moving within this realm of futility is tiring, causing some to pause or even "fall" along the way.

As the movements became more frantic and chaotic, the interactions between the performers grew more dramatic, turning into chases or amiable convergences.

Finally, the performers came together in a positive and affirming group. Once they became a community rather than frantically moving individuals, the performers were free to leave the confine of the Urban Lights, finishing the performance.

I really enjoyed this piece. It was very intellectually stimulating and engaging to watch. The utilization of the performance space was superb. My thanks go out to the performers: Alexandra Shilling, Alison D'Amato, Alissa Cardone, Allison Wyper, Elizabeth Terschuur, Flannery Gregg, Heather Coker, Joe Small, Lisa Wahlander, Maria Gillespie, Nguyen Nguyen, Sara Stranovsky, and Tida Sripanich. Most of these performers seem to be associated with UCLA's Department of World Arts and Culture.

Concentric Circles (After David Smith)

This was a musical performance for three lock-groove lacquers and string trio. This isn't my thing, but I can appreciate it. The lacquers were provide an auditory "ground" upon which the string trio would build harmonic textures. I really wish that I could see it again to fully appreciate the nuances. My first hearing was spent working out the compositional structure so I'm certain that I missed plenty.

There were segments that made me think of Morton Feldman's "Rothko Chapel" and, at one point, the strings reminded me of George Crumb's "Black Angels". There was one area where the lacquers became a dominating drone that had a voice-like pulse, sounding like a sentient rotor saying "Shame. Shame. Shame. Shame. Shame."

Again, this really isn't my type of music. And I can't say it was pleasant listening. However, I'm happy that I got to experience it. My thanks to Scott Benzel (composer), Heather Lockie (viola), Cassia Streb (viola), and Jessica Catron (cello).

Matt Witek Quintet

Now, this is my type of music. I finished the evening off with some jazz! I had seen Matt Witek (drums) and Katie Thiroux (bass, vocals) previously. Both are excellent performers. I'm especially fond of Thiroux's cool vocals. Chuck Manning was on tenor sax. Josh Welchez played trumpet. Vicky Nguyen was keyboard.

The performance was only for an hour, with six pieces, but it was a fine hour of good music. After a day of puzzling through conceptual pieces, I was glad to be back on familiar territory. Good stuff!

Here are some links:

UCLA Depratment of World Arts and Cultures

Scott Benzel's website

Cassia Streb's website

Matt Witek's website

Katie Thiroux's website

Chuck Manning's website

Josh Welchez's website


Friday's Flower Never Fades

Sonnet 18
(William Shakespeare)

Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate.
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
And summer's lease hath all too short a date.
Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,
And often is his gold complexion dimmed;
And every fair from fair sometime declines,
By chance, or nature's changing course untrimmed.
But thy eternal summer shall not fade
Nor lose possession of that fair thou ow'st;
Nor shall death brag thou wand'rest in his shade,
When in eternal lines to time thou grow'st,
So long as men can breathe or eyes can see,
So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.

Shakespeare's Sonnets were first published on this date in 1609. Here's a Wikipedia link.


Thursday, May 19, 2011

Heart in Hand

I saw this ad today on the back of a magazine. It was at a bit of a distance, so I couldn't make out most of the writing. I found it disturbing. It looks to me like a heart, torn from a chest and washed over a martini glass. Look at that thick, spiky bracelet and those long, sharp crimson nails. Combined with the red background and the manner in which the dragon fruit is held, it seems to be an intentional subtext, as if it wants to seem "dangerous".

I like Skyy vodka, but this doesn't work for me. There is nothing pleasant about ripping hearts out. Gross!!!

However, it is an improvement over the previous Skyy ad campaign:

Seriously, how does this make us want to drink Skyy? "Ladies love the bottle and, if you drink Skyy, they'll love you!" Maybe, but the image is freakish. If the intention is to create a transference of quality from the vodka to the consumer, then it shouldn't be so crass.

Anyways, there is a time and place for things. Heart-ripping doesn't belong in vodka ads. Here's where it belongs:

and the classic heart-rip scene:


Here's a link to the Dragon Fruit (Pitaya) Wikipedia page.


Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Whippet! Whippet Good!

Photo of leaping whippet from the Whippet Club of Great Britain.
Although I am not a big fan of owning pets, I am very fond of dogs. I think that they are amazing companion creatures. Each breed seems to have a strong and distinct personality type. Consider the whippet. This breed is known for its gentle temperament, but energetic disposition. They are traditionally bred for hunting and running.

Personally, I admire their sleek appearance. Their long faces are extremely expressive. That's why this commercial caught my attention:

The unimpressed look on the whippet's face is wonderful. I actually dislike the ad because it feels very mean-spirited, but I can't help chuckling when the whippet takes off at the end. The guy is such a loser that even his dog abandons him.

Anyways, here's a vid of some whippets racing:

Here's the Whippet Wikipedia page.

And here's a link to the American Whippet Club.


True Love's First Kiss

Theatrical Release Poster

Wow! It's been a decade since the first Shrek movie was released. It had a production budget of $60 million, but earned $42.3 million on the US opening weekend alone. It went on to earn $267.6 million domestic and $484.4 million worldwide, spawning a multi-movie franchise.

Although it came out at a time when I was not going to the cinema, even I ended up seeing it on the Big Screen. Yeah, I had to be dragged out to the theater, but I actually really enjoyed it. The mix of fantasy, humor, and action was just right. And the animation was exquisite.

Sadly, the sequels have been of significantly lower story quality. (Note: I have not yet seen the fourth movie, although I've heard that it is an improvement over the second and third.) Really, heads should roll for creating the giant Gingerbread Man scene of the second movie. Stoooopid!!!!!

Anyways, Dreamworks ain't cryin' over sequel quality. The film franchise has earned $2.9 billion!!!!!

Here's a snip of my favorite scene from the movies:

Here are some links for more Shrek info: Box Office Mojo, Internet Movie Database, and Wikipedia.