I need to go canvassing for a political group in a little, so posting will be slow today, at least until tonight. Overall it has been a good weekend. The Shinyribs band had an extremely fun gig at the Cottonwood in Houston, Texas. I saw the excellent film Kumiko, the Treasure Hunter last night. Although I might not catch it till tomorrow, I am really looking forward to The Walking Dead season finale that premiers tonight. (I don’t have cable.) I am enjoying the new Cribs record, For All My Sisters, that just came out. I also have been diving deeper into catalog of the band The Cure. Most casual listeners probably have a view of The Cure that is crystalized by their late 80’s and early 90’s singles, but their catalog is really diverse and experimental, while somehow always maintaining an identity. I unfortunately haven’t had much time for reading this weekend unfortunately, but so it goes. I am working on A Feast of Snakes by Harry Crews and Dante’s The Inferno.
Although the world can sometimes squeeze my skull, especially the latest antics by the batshit insane modern Republican Party, overall there is an endlessly fascinating amount of things to dive into. My work week is kind of backwards from most people, as I usually am working when most others are relaxing. If you are having a lazy Sunday, even if you have completely different tastes than me, have fun exploring…
Tonight I saw the excellent new movie Kumiko, the Treasure Hunter. It is going to be a little while before I can write a review, as the movie defies easy description and categorization. I was pleasantly surprised that the creators of the movies, the Zellner brothers, were at the screening and did a Q & A after. I had no idea that they were from Austin or that they would be there. I think anyone that enjoys seeing something unique and dreamlike at the movie theater would like this film. Although one could draw comparisons to other directors and films that came before it, it was its own thing. It was an art-house film, but one that had a story captivating enough that I think even a certain percentage of people that aren’t interested in those kind of films could be swept up in. However, it was interpretive and requires the viewer to think, unlike a great deal of mass entertainment. Anyway, I will write more at some point. I really liked the film and wanted to get something up about it. I didn’t want my silence, since I posted I was going to see it, to be taken as dislike.
After a gig last night and canvassing today, I’m headed to the movies with my girlfriend. I’m going to the see the above movie. Hopefully it is as good as the trailer, which makes it look amazing.
The original version of Robocop hilariously satirizes TV news and television commercials. Sure, a movie made in the 80’s is bound to get a couple things wrong, but overall it captures the shallowness of modern culture excellently. Years on our culture still too often feels like an 80’s action movie.
One of the general plot points in the science fiction movie Robocop is that a military industrial corporation is trying to take over the police force of Detroit. Knowing now how are police have often been militarized, thanks in part to the military industrial complex, a good deal of this movie is still more relevant than one would hope it would be.
Different Versions of Blonde On Blonde
Today I was listening to the mono version of Dylan’s Blonde On Blonde. I then stumbled on the above article, which tries to document the different versions of that album and there reasons for being. Even if you are not an audiophile, with truth be told, even though I love records, I am not, there are reasons why this should interest you. Often we think of a piece of art as having a definitive version. However with albums, there are slightly different versions in different countries. Even in the same country, especially in the 60’s when it was common to have stereo and mono versions of the same record, there are different mixes, track listings, cover photos, etc.
Music isn’t the only art-form where there can be many different versions. Many times painters or other kinds of visual artists will make more than one of a piece. Japanese woodblock prints are a kind of art-form that were meant to have multiple versions. The movie Alexander, by Oliver Stone, one of my favorite films, has the theatrical cut, the directors cut, and a sprawling two disc The Final Cut.
There is arguably a best version of a particular piece of art. There may be an intended version of something. However, there often isn’t a “definitive” version of something. The movie Blade Runner is an interesting study. There is the original theatrical cut and there is also a director’s cut, among other versions. The director’s cut is obviously the intended version by the person that had the biggest hand in creating it. However, I know many people that are passionate about this movie, that prefer the theatrical cut. Which version would you deem “definitive”?
Art, like the human experience in general, can be hard to pin down.
Last night in Nacogdoches, Kevin Russell told me the story of how the Marx Brothers got their comedic start here. I had no idea their story involved Texas at all. From Wikipedia:
One evening in 1912, a performance at the Opera House in Nacogdoches, Texas, was interrupted by shouts from outside about a runaway mule. The audience hurried out to see what was happening. When the audience returned, Groucho, angered by the interruption, made snide comments about its members, including “Nacogdoches is full of roaches” and “The jackass is the flower of Tex-ass”. Instead of becoming angry, the audience laughed. The family then realized it had potential as a comic troupe.
P.S. If today is anything like yesterday then posting will be slow until I get back to Austin.
Nicholas Winding Refn Documentary
The above article is an interview with director Nicholas Winding Refn and his wife Liv Corfixen, who just made a documentary about her husband. He has long been one of my favorite working directors. All of his movies have a emotionally intense poetic quality to them. He is someone that can deal in abstraction and have it resonate. You get a sense that he understands how to communicate on a personal level through imagery. If you think of how many things have to be put in place for a film image to be just right, that is quite a chore. One of the best.