Archive for November, 2007

Evangelizing

I saw two amazing films over the Thanksgiving weekend. One had zero music and moved incredibly slowly. The other was full of some of the finest songs of the twentieth century and buzzed like MTV.

The first was “No Country for Old Men“, which literally haunted me for the proceeding 24 hours. The Cohen brothers have done it again, “Fargo” style, only more violent and less funny. The similarities to “Fargo” are obvious: unassuming cop doing his/her job, ordinary people put in extraordinary circumstances due to getting mixed up in illegal activities, and barren landscapes showcased by marvelous cinematography. Javier Bardem’s calmness transfers to the audience, and the lack of music used as queues make it realistic, yet even creepier. The only real issues I had with it were some consistency things with the time period. Like the peanuts packages at the gas station — those were modern peanut packages while everything else in the store was clearly vintage. Still, if a finer specimim of Film will be released this year, I would be highly surprised.

The other movie I saw was “I’m Not There“, you know, the Dylan movie (as I so often have had to indicate). Two words: CATE BLANCHETT. Seriously. I mean, my God that woman can act. She was the only thing that saved “Elizabeth: The Golden Age” from going all green with patina after twenty minutes, and here she completely steals the show. I wish there was a director’s cut with only her bits spanning over two hours. The film is a wonderful representation of Dylan as a developing performer basically through the late ’70s when he was born again (though it skips about 10 years). Nothing means anything and everything means something. The fact that six actors play Dylan in different times, and with different names even, is a brilliant concept. Bob Dylan isn’t even his own name, so what difference does it make what we call him? He made up his life history, tried to hide that he was a Jew from northern Minnesota, so why can’t we make a black kid symbolize his journey to New York? Isn’t that what Dylan would want? It could have been a disaster, but Todd Haynes did a fantastic job.

However, I do have some problems with the movie. I posted it on the IMDB forum, but I’ll post it again here just for fun, under the cut.

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David Batter

David Bowie, for me, is like pancakes. I crave them, and always want more than I know I can finish. But a few bites, “Hereos”, “Sound + Vision”, and the most delicious of all: “Under Pressure” (akin to a blueberry pancake), are all I can really take. Too many pancake bites make me feel gross, but too many Bowie songs just make me feel confused. I love it all, but only in moderation.

I wish the mouth harp wasn’t there

Words cannot explain how excited I am to see “I’m Not There” (two words: Cate Blanchett). I was already excited before the soundtrack came out, but I’ve been listening to it almost every day for a week and I’m still not over it. Indie rock, hell, ROCK’s best are featured. All of Stephem Malkmus’s renditions are real stand-outs. One song, though not by Mr. Pavement, really caught my attention: “As I Went Out One Morning.” The bass line is phenomenal and I assumed that it was a newly arranged part. Since when does Dylan feature bass?

I wouldn’t consider myself a Dylan fan, but I’m very interested in the man. Few have been cooler than Dylan in all of pop history. Still, I do own a few Dylan albums. Meaning, I actually paid for some on top of those I’ve simply acquired. I heard Mira Billotte’s version of “As I Went Out One Morning” and knew that I had to hear the original. Turned out I owned the album it’s from already, “John Wesley Harding.” I bought it off iTunes last year when I was really into “Nashville Skyline.” It’s the second song on the damn album and I didn’t recognize it at all, even though Billotte’s version is very faithful to the original, including the amazing bass line. I hate when that happens.

But it made me realize why I love the “I’m Not There” soundtrack so much. There’s no fucking harmonica. I can tolerate Dylan’s voice, but the bloody harmonica is too much for me. I remember that’s why I stopped listening to “John Wesley Harding” in the first place. It’s a remastered version, and the harmonica is so up front, I absolutely hate it. I want to plug my ears every time it comes on. The songs are amazing — they always are — but (often) Dylan’s voice and harmonica tend to ruin them for me. So, the “I’m Not There” soundtrack is perfect for me as a fan. I can appreciate the songs as I want them–sans heavy, loud, piercing harmonica.

An update

It’s time once again for a brief update on my time in our great Twin Cities. Have I ever mentioned how much I love bulleted lists?

  • TV: “Bill Moyers’ Journal” is still really high on my list. Although clearly a liberal program, Bill is great at playing the devil’s advocate in interviews. A new fave is “Pushing Daisies“, a surreal, comic-book-like serial reminiscent of the movie “Toys”. It really feels like Joan Cusak and Parker Posey should be playing the parts of Olive and Chuck. It’s like nothing else ever on TV, but I never watched “Buffy” or “Smallville”, either. (I just looked at the official site and there’s actually a comic book version of the tale. Damn I’m good.)
  • Books: I had been reading Miranda July‘s latest collection of short stories, No one Belongs Here More than You but the library took it away from me because it’s in such high demand. I only had like 50 pages left, but hopefully I’ll remember to pick it back up again. It wasn’t really what I expected. July’s writing is nearly always erotic, in a sick way you would only expect to find in the shadowy areas of the Internet. One story, “Making Love in 2003″, involved a fictional Madeline L’Engle and her fictional husband. Who has the nerve to write that, especially when L’Engle is a proud Christian woman? I feel like July is opening new doors in terms of what can be fictionalized, at least for me and my life. I don’t know a lot about July, but it seems like a lot of her stories are based on things that actually happened, but she blows them so out of proportion that they become unrecognizable as reality, yet still believable.
  • Film: So many good ones out right now. “Lars and the Real Girl”, Ang Lee’s new dirty one, “Lust, Caution”, the Cohen brothers new one, “No Country for Old Men”…and the one I can hardly wait to see–”I’m Not There”. The soundtrack is almost too good to be true and thinking of the film itself gives me chills. I’m probably building it all up too much, but I’ve got to hope for the best.
  • My NaNoWiMo: My words are not quite up to par, as it were, but I’ve decided not to care. My goal is to get into the habit of writing and to find out if I can still do it. Luckily, I feel I’ve discovered that I can still write creatively in a slightly above average manner. I haven’t forgotten all the rules though. I’m still not editing and I’m still trying to add as many words as possible, but starting this weekend I’m taking a new direction, following the pep talk we received from Sara Gruen. I’m going to jump ahead to the good parts to keep my motivation high. I’m excited about it once again. I saw John Waters speak last weekend and he happened to say that a novel is the hardest thing to write. I grinned to myself…”And I’m going to do it, sucka.”
  • Dreams: Last night I dreamed that Annie Lennox performed in a quarry for the company I work for. I even sat across from her during a pre-show dinner. She didn’t like me for some reason. After the show, I got her to sign an autographed black & white glossy for me. It said, “To Dorothea, best wishes, Annie Lennox.” I think it was Dorothea; it was not my name anyway. She thought my name was Dorothea. Then I looked through a file cabinet for more about Dorothea. I never found an answer.

What have you all been up to?

Dear Triple Rock Social Club,

Hi there. How are you today? Oh, I’m fine except for my right foot, thanks for not asking.

The arch of my right foot is throbbing with pain right now. Why, you don’t ask? Well, Triple Rock, it’s because you made me stand for over 90 minutes outside until 10:40 last night, then you provide no place for me to sit inside for a show lasting another three hours. Thanks to your unkindness, watching Jens Lekman live wasn’t very much fun.

I’m sure there is a perfectly valid reason for you to cause me this pain. After all, you did host an all-ages show before the Jens show. That’s nice of you, to provide a place for kids to see live music. I like that about you, Triple Rock. What I’m having trouble understanding is why you can’t manage your schedule. I think every time I’ve seen a “major” indie name at your establishment, I’ve been forced to wait outside in the elements, whether or not I already purchased a ticket. First Avenue gets everyone with tickets out of the line right away and lets them in, which is nice because they usually are late opening their doors too. We got no apologies from either bouncer. Being fucking rude is so punk.

jens-front.jpg

But at least First Ave can keep to a basic schedule. Doors were supposed to open at 9:00 last night. So, that’s when I met a friend. We were a tad late. The line never moved…until about 10:40. We heard both bands do a really long sound check. Then, during both sets, both bands complained of sound issues in their monitors. Triple Rock, this is inappropriate. It’s bad for the musicians and it’s bad during the concert. Jens had to actually stop a song once because the sound person was fiddling with the knobs for apparently no good reason.

You should be embarrassed. And you should sack that fat biker dude who always takes the money. He smells bad. (But amazingly not as bad as the poopy pants dude who stood in front of us during the equally poopy opening act.)

Coldest regards,

AKM