We had a belated birthday celebration here at my house for both myself and several friends — backdated to December! Some of the stuff I got is worth mentioning, both because I may write about them in the Books or Music section and because they're interesting on their own merits.
- Moondog: The Viking of 6th Avenue: The Authorized Biography. I'm amazed a movie hasn't yet been made of this man's life. Born Louis Hardin, he became famous for standing around New York City in full Viking regalia, and became a composer and musician of no small acclaim.
- The Source: The Untold Story of Father Yod, Ya Ho Wa 13, and The Source Family. Another one of those too-strange-to-be-anything-but-true stories, this one about Father Yod and his cult band — literally a cult — Ya Ho Wha 13.
- New York Noise: Art and Music from the New York Underground 1978-88: Photographs by Paula Court. Short on text but long on images, and from what I can tell the real annotating is in the imagery anyway. All that's missing is a companion CD with the book (as the first two items do), but there's several of them available separately.
I also ended up with the Blu-ray of Casino Royale (which gets better each time I watch it, actually), and a slew of other little things, but those were the big attention-getters.
Incidentally, after Warner Brothers's "we're dropping HD-DVD in 2008" announcement this Friday — the weekend before CES, no less — all that's left is for Criterion to follow suit. And when that happens I may in time be selling or auctioning (or just giving) away my existing Criterion discs as they're replaced. Obviously this isn't happening any time soon, but yes, I'm seriously jonesing about the idea of Ran in HD.
(No, DRM doesn't thrill me, either, but given the way the music industry is finally giving up on DRM wholesale, I don't think the movie industry will see much point in bothering for too much longer either. Not when the delivery mechanisms and retail prices are low enough to make piracy essentially not worth the effort. Warner Brothers didn't even bother to include Macrovision on most of the Harry Potter movies because they sold so well that to do so would have simply chiseled into their profits. Also, AFAIK, the Blu-ray Disc spec doesn't mandate copy protection, either; it's just one of the features available on the platform ... but any way you slice it the next few years are going to be really interesting.)