Wednesday, December 29, 2010

When photography and music come together - Danny Clinch

I first came across Danny Clinch's work when I purchased a John Mayer live DVD, "Where the light is." Directed by Danny Clinch his ability to tell stories with film is breathtaking. As you can see below his photography isn't bad either.

View his website here.



Sunday, December 26, 2010

I and Love and You and New York City

FILM REVIEW: New York, I love you...

Orlando Bloom, Natalie Portman, Christina Ricci, Andy Garcia, Bradley Cooper, Rachel Bilson, Shia LaBeouf, Hayden Christensen, James Caan, and Ethan Hawke star in what can only be described as a movie of random love stories only possible because of the beauty of New York City. New York, I love you is a collection of short stories, or short films within a film, ten vignettes on people meeting and falling in love in New York City.

This film goes beyond romance, and discards the cliché’ uses of comedy, gratuitous nudity and sex to tell stories of love; but relies on the fundamentals of good filmmaking: script, direction, acting, cinematography and of course New York City.

In a city of eight million people and eight million stories, this is a film about ten of them. A teenage boy takes a girl in a wheel chair to his prom; two lovers meet; two smokers share a flame, a married couple take a walk on their 63rd wedding anniversary.

Watch this film is all I can really say. Available in most DVD stores. Watch out for Shia LeBeouf his performance makes this film.



Thursday, December 23, 2010

A picture is worth a thousand heartbeats...

Welcome to the talent of local Adelaide photographer Derek McClure. From art teacher to scetcher, to father, to husband, brother, friend professional jazz musician and back again, Derek in the last year has leant his keen eye and 'Rain man' like ability to learn and master any artform, to photography.

I had the pleasure of sitting for Derek as he took my photo for my upcoming book "The Invincible Summer" and throuroughly enjoyed the experience. Derek's blog and can be viewed here.

Please see some samples below, used with permission.

The Small Stakes: Love, beauty and rock music on paper.

About two years ago I came accross this designer Jason Munn. Jason is a graphic designer from LA who works for various record companies and indie bands to produce websites, posters and CD cover art.

It is truely inspiring to see an artist at the top of his game. I have three copies of his work and will certainly purchase more. The Small Stakes website can be viewed here.

Take a few minutes to check out some of his posters. I have inlcuded some below.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Tiger Woods, sand traps, Dr Seuss and cultural cloning: Thoughts on the cultural conditioning of developing your weaknesses.

I want to be Tiger Woods…except for the whole addicted to sex, swinging dick thing. Yesterday I participated in an intensive workshop on becoming a “high achieving team” as part of a professional development course I’m a part of at work. The facilitator used a Tiger Woods analogy that got me thinking. Apparently Tiger Woods very rarely practices his sand game. Not that I know much about golf, but apparently your ‘sand game’ is when you’re in the bunker and how well you recover.

According to this story Tiger Woods spends most of his time concentrating on the strength of his game – his long fairway game. This apparently makes Tiger Woods one of the only golfers who very rarely end up in the bunker. Now I don’t know if this is true or not, but I like the thinking that by focussing on what you are good at, nullifies our weaknesses.

I thought a lot about this as I was driving home. The strengths that I have are unique to me because of my experiences, personality and skills. I can’t hit a golf ball like Tiger Woods, but I got game in other areas of life. This also reminds me of one of my favourite Dr Suess quotes.

“Today you are you, that is truer that true. There is no one alive who is youer than you.”

In developing our weaknesses are we stifling the world of our developing out unique gifts and strenghts that only we can do? Often I feel like our culture is set out to make us all carbon copies of each other, pathetic clones of an unknown, nameless original. We are conditioned to not stand out from the crowd. We are told that the crowd is safe and warm and that’s where we should stay.

I’m encouraged by the thoughts of developing the things you are already good at….and being better. What about the things that you aren’t great at….? Ignore it..? Not quite, but I think understanding that someone else has it covered, works for me.

I can’t help but again think of Lady GaGa. So anyway, if you find yourself retreating into the crowd, whisper a ‘fuck that’ under your breath and break out into your unique strength.


Monday, December 20, 2010

When poetry meets melody...Death Cab for Cutie

There's nothing like a song that reaches into you messes around for a little bit then pisses off. This song is just a beautiful example of talented musicians at their best. I have seen these guys live twice, once in Adelaide and once in Melbourne and it was such an incredible exprience. Take a minute, read the lyrics, watch the clip.

A beautifully written song. I hope you enjoy. Lyrics are below:

You may tire of me as our December sun is setting
'Cause I'm not who I used to be
No longer easy on the eyes
These wrinkles masterfully disguise
The youthful boy below
who turned your way and saw
Something he was not looking for
Both a beginning and an end
But now he lives inside someone he does not recognize
When he catches his reflection on accident

On the back of a motor bike
With your arms outstretched trying to take flight
Leaving everything behind
But even at our swiftest speed
We couldn't break from the concrete
In the city where we still reside
And I have learned
That even landlocked lovers yearn
For the sea like navy men
'Cause now we say goodnight
From our own separate sides
Like brothers on a hotel bed
You may tire of me as our december sun is setting
'Cause I'm not who I used to be

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Welcome to the dark, beautiful place where my stories are born...

I never cease to be amazed at what sparks my imagination, and ignites my inner fiction.  I was driving home late last night or early this morning, and was listening to the Counting Crows album, Recovering the Satellites.

A tune came on that I hadn’t heard for a long time. As I hummed along whilst trying to fight some severe fatigue, the following line actually awoke me and got me thinking. The song is called “A long December.” The lyric is below:

“All at once you look across a crowded room
To see the way that light attaches to a girl.”

All of a sudden, like a sleeping guard dog, my imagination woke up and said “Hurry up and get home Andrew you have to write.”

As I drove home I started thinking about how things in life can always change and how situations can make you see someone in a different light. As I thought more about it a scene (like I was watching a movie in my mind) came to me.

I got home at 2.13 am and what I wrote is below. It’s raw and rough. I don’t know where this will fit, or what this will be. Maybe it’s only meant to exist here and now on ‘andrew speaks easy’ but here is the passage.

Even if these words never find a home, the process was exhilarating.

Written by Andrew Natale
Copyright-December 2010.

     It wasn’t until he made a fist to knock that he realized the torrent of sweat evident on his palms, so he quickly wiped them on his pants in a desperate attempt to hide his nervousness. He could hear her footsteps to the door; she was wearing heels he thought.
      She greeted him with a devastating smile. She wore a black tight fitting strapless dress, her hair purposefully clumped on one side. The warm yellow glow from her living room attached itself to her naked right shoulder revealing the intricate path of her collar bone that lead its way to her delicate neck line.
       To the casual observer it was obvious that she was attractive, but to him she possessed an invisible beauty one only discovered through years of innocuous conversations and spontaneous laughter. Others noticed the sum of her beauty; the fall of her hair, the charm of her conversation and the grace of her laughter, but all of them submitted to their own impatience to want to get to know her immediately, instead of savoring the slow discovery. 

“A Long December”
Words and Music by Adam Duritz from the album Recovering the Satellites. See the flim clip below, listen for the above lyric (1:24) and notice a young Courtney Cox in the clip.

Thanks Adam.


Friday, December 17, 2010

Who gives a fuck...? Unfortunately I do. Thoughts on the prevailing culture of conformity and being the anti Lady Gaga.

I am the anti Lady Gaga. Regardless of your thoughts on her music and pop culture persona, one thing I really admire about Lady Gaga is her 'Who give's a fuck, this is me' antiestablishment artistic leanings. In a recent conversation with a friend of mine we were discussing initial impressions of each other, which was both honest and refreshing. It began in me a series of annoying thoughts on how I am percieved as a person and more than that, what I would be willing to change to provide a better story to what people see.

I have then since discovered after much thinking that it takes an enourmous amount of courage to simply be who you are. We seem to live in a world that encourages progression and growth. Steps to be a better person, which all have merrit. But what if the one key step to being the best version of yourself is to simply accept that right now you are the best version of yourself. Or maybe that's the point, maybe you're trying to get to that 'best version'.

At any rate, for a period of three hours when I related to people I came accross (work collegues, service station dude, cute girl making my coffee) I engaged in my own social experiment annalysing my own thoughts, body language and ways that I related. I realised that a lot of my thoughts were based around hiding somes parts of who I am in an attempt to give a better impression of who I am. Trying to be what I thought others think I should be. Recently I heard a facinating interview with Lady Gaga who said

"You have to be unique, and diffrent, and shine in your own way." she continued and said
"And now, I'm just trying to change the world, one sequin at a time."

All of us I'm sure on some level give a fuck on what people think. I'm sure if we all lived a life on the 'i don't give a fuck' level of Lady Gaga the world would be one strange place, stranger than what it is now. But in listening to my friend's observation, I have come to discover that gaining the courage to actually be myself, all the time is the greatest challenge of my life. To live counter culturally against a world that says I should be a certain way, to live with a 'Lady Gaga courage' to be who it is I am, whether I have discovered that yet or not.

Imagine a world where people were how they are; a group of people determined to changing the world one sequin at at a time.

Hmmmm interesting. I'll be couragous if you will.


Thursday, December 16, 2010

Amazing street art, Melbourne and New York City

I was in Melbourne earlier this year and spent some time on Brunswick St. Amongst the shops and cafes I wandered down some side streets and found some incredible street art. I love that the medium is the message. Often mistaken for graffitti, street art is a significant art form.

I like how they take the ordinary and make it beautiful. A vacant wall that is just like any other is transformed into a message, a story, an artform.

As a creative artists what a way to spend your life; turning the ordinary into the beautiful.

Brunswick St, Melbourne, VIC.

Check some of these from New York City. Hopefully next year i'll get to photograph some when if I eventually get there.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

What are you hearing...?

After reflecting on a conversation I had recently with a friend, I realized that a lot of what we/I do in life is centered around what we/I wish to say. The need to be understood. Our society is all about putting your voice forward, making sure your point of view is heard, saying the right thing, repairing the wrong things you said, articulating to give the right impression. As a wanna be writer, I agonize (sometimes erroneously) over how things should be said, prefaced or explained. In essence, I think living a life based around what you feel you need to say makes for a selfish existence. I named this blog 'Andrew speaks easy' because I never find it difficult to find things to say. I'll talk to anyone, anytime about anything and I figured that I could read books, and watch movies and then talk all about it.

But what I am realizing is that I'm learning by listening. So I'm gonna make this blog not about what I am saying, but what I am hearing. Observations. So everyday that I choose to listen instead of talk I'm really fascinated about what I'm going to hear.

What do you hear...?


Saturday, December 11, 2010

And another...

Some great photography from a truly talented artist...

I & I

Please check out my high school friend's blog on the link below. Makes me wish i knew her more in high school. Enjoy...

A story in the everyday...

Im certain that everyday life throws us little moments that are meant to tell us something. These moments are to tell us that we are either on the right or wrong path for our lives. I had one of these moments that other day. I went to the wrong building for a work meeting and discovered this plaque on a building i had walked passed many times before.


I've started learning this Brazilian dance called Zouk. Like all good art I am learning something about life, finding the beauty in non-sexual, comfortable intimacy. Enjoy this video. 

Summer is almost here...

Well I have almost completed the long process of writing my first book. Whilst the tennis game between me and my editor (s) and friends who are reading my work is tiresome, the process is good for my discipline and creative energy. I can't help but write, it's the one thing that makes me feel like I am contributing to the universe. I love the creative process, especially when writing is the search and fight for good prose is a joy and a privilege. It's almost like having a significant relationship in my life, finding naughty hours here and there to get on my computer, shut out the worlds and say hello to my characters. Most focuss group members have given their feedback and it is really nice to have old and new firends tell me their thoughts on my creativity. It is both frightening and humbling.

I love doing this, and will write for the rest of my life. I picture myself in my eighties in some nursing home surrounded by old strangers tapping and poking like a mother fucker at some old keyboard trying to work out a good predicate. Some old dame will say “What you writing…?” and i’ll reply…”I’m writing a story about an author who never got published until after his death.” So as I write and journey, come with me. Hopefully my book will be out soon in 2011 depending on how much money i need to invest into the project. Self publishing is a bitch but the control over my words is the pay off.

You keep reading, ill keep writing


The search for the right words...

writer |ˈrītər|noun • a person who writes books, stories, or articles as a job or regular occupation.
A french writer by the name of Michel Butro once said “Every word written is a victory against death.” I love this thinking and would attest to it wholeheartedly. Firstly just let me state that yes i am a hopeless romantic, a frustrated poet, a lover of good music all of which come through in what and how i write. I make no excuses for this as every writer has a color to their words, and these are the various hues of mine. But above all there is a dream that runs through all these colors and it is simply this;  that a laptop and a word processing program is mightier than acts of violence. My theory is that all of us long for peace. Peace in our world, peace in our hearts, peace in our relationships and peace in our minds.  A belief that art can change the world.
Can words bring peace? (no? try reading a Martin Luther Kings Jnr speech) Can words bring love? (no? try reading Love in the times of Cholera) Can words break and mend a heart?  (no? read Psalm 25 from the Christian Bible) Can a film inspire positive change? (no? watch American Beauty) Can a song break your heart but make your soul dance? (No? listen to Coldplay’s Clocks) Can a film make you appreciate a relationship? (No? watch The Family Stone) Can the right album be your therapy to help with life? (no? listen to Jeff Buckley’s Grace by candle light)
Can a solitary writer change the world?
So as you journey through 'andrew speaks easy' take a moment to do more than just reflect. Take a moment to engage. I will endeavor to bring you my own thoughts on life, love, dance, music, fiction, film, politics plus regular updates on my various creative projects. No only do i have things to say, i also have ears that listen. Make comments, send me emails and lets see what happens. 

Let the dialogue begin...

This is the first of what i hope will be many posts about all things fiction, life, film, music, love, dance and everything in between.