Thank you for visiting 2nd First Look! Check out our latest post on our Home page. You can also read dozens of more articles on film, television, music, literature, gaming, and the arts by clicking on the designated buttons. We'd love to hear your opinions so make sure to leave comments!


2FL Short & Video: John Bloner, Jr.

Below is a collection of 2FL Short and Video reviews originally posted on 2FL's Facebook page.

May 2, 2013
2FL VIDEO: Jason Silva's The Beginning of Infinity
by John Bloner Jr.

When the Voyager space probes were sent on their missions, like the launching of a bottle into a cosmic ocean, said Carl Sagan, they carried discs with them that contain music (Mozart and Chuck Berry), spoken greetings from world cultures and images to represent our beautiful blue home. Should NASA or some private entrepreneur wish to fling another bottle into the deep dark galactic sea, I hope they send Jason Silva's reveries about art, science and wonder inside it, so other sentient beings may encounter this new breed of philosopher, billed as "Part Timothy Leary, part Ray Kurzweil, and part Neo from 'The Matrix". 


April 25, 2013
2FL VIDEO: Everything's Waiting for You
by John Bloner, Jr.

When the smash song "Downtown" chirped out of my sister's transistor radio in 1964, I became forever smitten with its singer, Petula Clark, the cherubic Brit who spread her optimism over the airwaves about a place with which I could identify. I was too young to know about love, heartbreak or the appeal of fast cars, but I knew of a place called "downtown" and somehow that part of town has held a special place in my heart ever since, due, in large part, to this song. Pet has rerecorded the song with the Saw Doctors and most recently, nearly 50 years after "Downtown" went up the charts, for her new album, "Lost In You". She's slowed the tempo, fitting for an evening stroll through the streets where "everything is waiting for you". Let's join her, won't you?


November 29, 2012
2FL VIDEO: Pat Metheny, Giulio Carmassi and "The First Circle"
by John Bloner, Jr.

Jazz guitarist Pat Metheny makes it look easy. His best compositions, of which there are many, seem effortless, spontaneous and instill a sense of the heartland (Metheny is a Missouri native), stitched with the bossa nova, the Beatles, and the music of Steve Reich. Metheny recorded "The First Circle" as the title track to his 1994 record and says it carries "a special feeling that is unlike anything else in our book." Metheny made his musical magic with the talents of keyboardist Lyle Mays, bassist Steve Rodby, drummer Paul Wertico and the astonishing wordless vocals of Pedro Aznar. Musician Giulio Carmassi cites Metheny as "his biggest musical influence growing up." Earlier this year, Carmassi created a cover version of "The First Circle", playing all of the instruments and singing the vocals by himself. It begins with the clapping of hands (a nod to Reich's early piece,"Clapping Music") and evolves over more than nine minutes with a transformative grace. It looks so easy and feels so good.

November 1, 2012
by John Bloner, Jr.

Australian mash-up artist, Nick Bertke, shouldn't need an introduction. His music videos on YouTube have reached 65 million views, and Disney, Pixar, and others have commissioned his work. Under the alias, Pogo, he cuts up visuals and sounds sourced from popular films such as "Alice In Wonderland", "Up" and "Toy Story" and creates new works from them, often repeating certain sonic textures, words and images.

Recently, he's applied his approach to the World Remix Project, whose purpose, in his own words, is to capture the "sights, sounds, voices and chords" of cities around the globe and "use them to compose and shoot a track and video for each major culture of the world". His creation, Kadinchey, transports the viewer over two and a half minutes to the Himalayan nation of Bhutan with its sounds of Tibetan bells, overtone chants, young and old voices, and colorful sights of sacred dances, prayer flags, temples, a tea ceremony and Bhutanese monks.

He told the website, Pro Video Coalition, this year, “My art simply continues a tradition that stretches back to the beginning of human culture. We make art out of what we find around us. I do that today with sonic and visual elements.”

October 9, 2012
2FL SHORT: The Power of the (Polish) Poster
by John Bloner, Jr.

Pity the poor theater poster. Either you're forgotten like many movies you promote or become a piece of memorabilia, more regarded for the price you command than the merits of your image.

In Poland, however, the art of the poster has played a vital role in graphic design. Smashing Magazine reports that Jan Wdowiszewski, organizer of the 1898 International Poster Exhibition, wrote of the "power of the poster to act like a mirror for society's physical and mental way of life." www.smashingmagazine.com/2010/01/17/the-legacy-of-polish-poster-design

The Website, The Vine.com, informs that Polish artists of the 1950s and 60s expressed themselves through poster design, escaping the watchful eye of communist officials because they were working for the studio. www.thevine.com.au/entertainment/movies/30-awesome-polish-movie-posters

View vintage Polish posters at www.polish-posters.co.uk

While the heyday of Polish posters may have passed, Polish artists continue to create works for film, theater, opera and exhibitions that not only promote art but become objects of art themselves. www.polishposter.com

September 27, 2012
2FL VIDEO: Trixie Whitley -- "I'd Rather Go Blind"
by John Bloner, Jr.

She's tiny, huddled over her guitar with a black hood up, like she's in a cave and wary of being discovered. Then . . . she opens her mouth to sing, "With my knife so dull, I'd kill it if I could." She kills this song, in the best possible way; she slays it, turns it upside down and shakes it for all its worldly good. Damn, she's good! She's more than good. She's nasty. She's Trixie Whitley, daughter of the late Chris Whitley, who at the age of 25, wears a voice that would have made Memphis Minnie nod in time and Big Mama Thornton dance around in her fancy dress. Here's Trixie singing "I'd Rather Go Blind" at the Bing Lounge in Portland, OR, accompanied by Daniel Lanois, her band mate in Black Dub. I'm looking forward to hearing a lot more of her music in years to come. Sing it, Trixie, and see my knees go weak.