Sunday, September 21, 2008

Northern Highlights

I'm currently obsessed with Northern Exposure, it's true. I really like this show for a number of reasons, not the least of which being that every single character is likable, even the cantankerous ones. Also, there doesn't seem to be any sort of urgency to have any particular plot, instead the stories sort of meander in and out, sometimes culminating in a character musing on the phrase, "Alone like a stone in the new world", which he heard his grandfather say when his grandmother died, sometimes culminating in tossing a piano with a giant catapult. In any case, solutions and answers are not easily arrived at, and more likely are just new and different questions. People don't really get angry with each other, no one gets murdered, cheap shots are not made and sex, when it appears or is discussed, is sweet and a little goofy. You get to spend a lot of time with the characters, and are not asked to feel sorry for them, or envy them or judge them-- just to consider them. The pleasures of independence, good bars and intellectual musings are given heavy weight. Also, Marilyn reminds me of my grandma and Shelly has the same earrings as me. Also: how sexy is John Corbett in the election episode when he cuts his hair and shows up in a sixties suit with a skinny tie?

Also, because this show was shot in the early nineties, some of the young female characters have really shiny hair. When exactly did that stop being an indicator of beauty? Hair products, dye, perms, and unkempt rat's nest hair have not been good to shiny hair, but shiny hair is really pretty. I have a couple of friends who have not dyed the life out of their hair and have left it as the middle-brown, almost blonde (I believe Beverly Cleary referred to it as mouse brown) colour that is seemingly abhorred by would-be starlets. As a result, their hair is very shiny, and the colour, if you look closely, is complex and pretty.

I am starting to feel the weight of the time spent in LA.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Weird Connection

Julius and Ethel Rosenberg sons' adoptive father was Abel Meeropol who wrote the lyrics to "Strange Fruit".

Monday, September 15, 2008

The Tina Fey

In script analysis class, the term we used for this moment was "Obligatory Scene".

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Reasons to Love Bob

Jeremy got me a ticket to see Bob Dylan for my birthday. Jeb: I'm too lazy to re-write what I wrote you about the show. With apologies, I reprint it here.


Wearing his Spaniard hat and a black suit. Stood and played the keyboards the whole time. Did little toodly walks around the stage just as the lights went down at the end of each song-- his weird, sort of mincing, tripping gait was fun to watch.

It's got to be hard getting old. One thing I've learned from both Bob and Etta James earlier this summer is that you lose your range or perhaps your energy to force your voice into carrying the tune and instead you kind of float along with the tune in a one-octave (or less) zone. But while Etta has somewhat descended into clown versions of what used to be beautiful, touching songs, Bob rages, rages against the dying of the light.

The band was large-ish and competent and wearing boxy suits and skinny ties. Lap steel and rhythm guitar played in every song, along with I think the largest drum set I've ever seen (excepting the Freaks and Geeks one in the garage with the 10 or whatever snares). The sound was large and the venue gymnasium-like, which resulted in an unfortunately muddy sound and an indelicate mix.

I wasn't close enough to see his little moustache, as my illness made the idea of fighting through the sweaty throngs of old hippies and middle managers unappealing. But it was enough to be in the presence of a true legend, an artist-king. And even though his arrangements-- even of 'It Ain't Me, Babe" and "Subterranean Homesick Blues" and "Highway 61" and "Ballad of a Thin Man"-- tended towards a blast of big band-ish sound with Bob skeddaddling the lyrics in at the end of the bar, the air was filled with awe at being in the presence of The Man Himself.

There was lots of unfortunate dancing, but which I mean nerdy white people with no game dancing. It frankly made me a little relieved to have missed the sixties, especially when you factor in all the polyester of that era.

The number one thing that made me go instead of being lame and going home to sleep was the prospect of him playing "Don't Think Twice, It's Alright" and me missing it. He didn't play that, but for the encore he unboxed his voice and played, fairly faithfully to the known version "Like a Rolling Stone" and "All Along The Watchtower", which I knew was a brillant song because Bono told me but it never seemed so insightful and important before.

And then he introduced the band, raised his hands to the crowd, waved, and rode on into the friscillating dusklight.

More Reflections on the News

1) Sometimes I think about how totally anal I am at work and I wonder if I irritate the hell out of the people that work with me.  Then I consider the only people who seem annoyed by it are terminally disorganized and also, I will hopefully use this trait to avoid accidentally allowing two trains to smash into each other.

2) When I was in Youth Parliament I went to the annual dinner of former BC MLAs and heard an American journalist make an impassioned argument in favour of the Canadian system of federal elections -- that is, that they can be called by the governing party or if there is a vote of nonconfidence and are not on a pre-ordained schedule every fourth November.  He said that this system of election made the campaigning period mercifully short and avoided the kind of mud-slinging that American elections quickly became.  Now that I've been in each country for electoral mayhem, I think he might have been wrong.  The mudslinging is ungracious and exhausting, yes, but you do get to know who you are dealing with as they complete their ultra-marathon of applying for the job.   Anyway, Stephen Harper seems perfectly happy to sling mud, or guano or whatever is around on his happy way towards undoing Canada's progress towards becoming a more socially progressive, environmentally tolerant and brave country.   It's hard to know who to dislike more: Harper or the Liberal party for messing up their streak.

3) David Foster Wallace.  I read most of Brief Interviews at a pretty low point in my early twenties, to the point where I had to stop reading it and I actually stopped reading fiction for a long time soon after.  That had more to do with me than him, but still, the man gave himself a pretty unforgiving errand.  I saw Burn After Reading the other night and it's silly and doesn't mean anything and doesn't leave you with anything except a slight aspartame aftertaste, but maybe that's what the Coen boys had to do after making something as important and completely damning as No Country.  In defense of the healing power of dumb art, or something.

(Bringing It) On In Years

Yet another item in the long list of reasons why you should try and avoid having a baby when you are a teenager (it makes you do crazy things later).  The good news is that if this woman is smart about selling her story to the production companies that will be hitting her up, maybe she could quit her job and get her GED.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Really Do Not Like Hippies That Much

But they really like trees.