Guitar Legend Les Paul, 1915-2009…. and a movie review

August 16, 2009 at 7:49 pm (FILM, MUSIC)

The man who helped revolutionize how music is played, recorded and heard died Thursday. Les Paul was credited with many innovations in recording music- overdubbing, delay effects and multitrack recording. Plus, he invented the solid-body guitar, which bears his name- the Gibson Les Paul- which changed how rock-n-roll was played forever. The guitar-maker was also a talented-player, playing until 1990s, inventing many tricks that are used by talented guitarist today- licks, fret techniques, etc.

“Les Paul was truly a ‘one of a kind.’ We owe many of his inventions that made the rock ‘n roll sound of today to him, and he was the founding father of modern music,” B.B. King said in a statement. “This is a huge loss to the music community and the world. I am honored to have known him.”

Paul passed away Thursday from complications from severe pneumonia in White Plains, New York. He was 94.

I hate to put a movie review on a memorial post, but I saw a movie today and don’t want to push the memorial down immediately.

DISTRICT 9- (R)

When I first saw this preview, I said, “No.” Actually, I think I said “Hell no.” But, then I saw reviews coming in about the message behind the movie and then, I saw friends on FaceBook saying how amazing it was, so I changed my mind and when to see it today.

District 9 is about aliens that have been stranded here on Earth. With their craft hovering above Johannesburg, South Africa, the aliens have been on Earth for 20 years and are put in “District 9”, a basic concentration camp for them. When the people of JHB are fed up with the aliens, the government decides to send them to another “district” outside of the city. But since they are now citizens of Earth, human rights organizations try to get the government to give them some rights and they must be “evicted” from their current shacks. During the eviction, a worker named Wikus Van De Merwe (don’t ask me how to pronounce that…) gets sprayed by some alien substance and starts to change.

This movie is not really about aliens deep down; it is about how we treat the unknown. An allegory to apartheid and other human rights problems throughout history, this is about how we as humans fear the unknown and treat them with such hostility. (Where are the olive branches, people?!?!?) It really shows us what it is like to be “the other” without giving us the same movie that people have been producing for the last 20 years. And then, on the surface, it is a great science fiction movie as well, giving us amazing special effects and really giving the aliens personality. This is the first feature-length film from director Neill Blomkamp, who also wrote this movie, but it is amazing to see this kind of, for lack of a better word, masterpiece in his first movie.  This is a great film- but a warning– if you are squeamish or if you do not like really graphic violence, do not see this movie. There is a lot of bloodshed and very graphic “changing” in the main character that is very difficult to watch.

My Rating:  A-   The first movie all year that I felt really sent a message to the viewers and opened our eyes just a little bit more.


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