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Archives for August 2011

Boogie Street

And the Production of Repose – I remember lying around in the living room of the house on West 3rd Street in Lexington, Kentucky where the phonograph, the record player, commanded the space below the windows that looked out toward the holly tree. I remember the album covers stacked beside the speakers – 12x5 by the Rolling Stones, The Beatles’ Abbey Road, The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan and many others that were only slightly less emblematic of that era. Set apart a little in my memories is the album cover with, on the b-side, the picture of the naked woman engulfed in flames. Dark haired and voluptuous, the woman raised her eyes toward heaven, transfixing my ten year old imagination with her beauty, her nakedness, and with the mystery of the … [Read more...]

Double Indemnity

Another Earth, Directed by Mike Cahill; written by Mr. Cahill and Brit Marling –  Couched in a comfy sci-fi genre, Another Earth takes off to explore, not the regions of outer space, but instead turns inward, to examine the intimate nature of redemption. It questions what are the actual possibilites for the reparation of unyielding guilt—explores the avenues, the processes of atonement. Rhoda Williams (Brit Marling), a gifted college student with pure potential, takes one intoxicant too many and becomes distracted by the discovery of an alternate Earth, causing her to crash into an unwitting family who too are on their way to a beautiful future. And there the future ends. Wife, pregnant with the second child, and son die and leaving the … [Read more...]

Carnival Darwinism

Swamplandia!, Karen Russell author, Knopf (2011) It’s hard to get your bearings in Swamplandia! The story is a fantasy that is partially narrated by the book's protagonist, a thirteen year old girl, Ava Bigtree. This is not material that would normally interest me, but when it came highly recommended by a trusted source, off I went with the Bigtree family and their odd assortment of calamities. Forebear of the Bigtree clan, Grandpa Sawtooth Bigtree, née Ernest Schedrach, was born the son of a white coal miner in Ohio, who, after losing his pulp mill job bought ‘farmland’ off the coast of southwest Florida, sight unseen. It turned out to be mostly covered by water with a small habitable island (part of the Ten Thousand Islands) and he … [Read more...]

Working Woman

Sandra Bernhard, REDCAT, Los Angeles, August 12, 2011 – Performances run through August 21. www.redcat.org Sandra Bernhard is back in L.A. for a two-week run at REDCAT to promote her recent album, I Love Being Me, Don’t You? Or perhaps the album promotes the tour--it’s hard to say since she included hardly any of the recorded material in her 100-minute performance Friday night. If you know Bernhard only through YouTube videos or guest appearances on talk shows, or even from her albums, you don’t know her vast range until you’ve seen her live. The show was a balanced blend of standup, stories, and music. Bernhard’s an assured, emotional singer, and the audience responded to the risk inherent in the intermixing of music and … [Read more...]

Move Along

Many a conversation takes place on the walk that circumscribes the Lake Hollywood Reservoir. There things get sorted out, affairs get settled, decisions are made and plans are put into play. My favorite lakeside conversation is the one that I indulge in with myself. The distances I have traveled on foot pale in comparison to the distances I have traveled inside my mind. Not a meditation, more of a circumspect rumination. Here at the reservoir I surf the vortex of mind matter that rents space in my brain. My mind matter often takes on a density, behaving more like an event horizon than the lithe notes of a Mozart score. But then, there is the walking. And as vigilant as is my predisposition to codify, to conserve, the walking let's you … [Read more...]


Interview with Georgian composer Natalie Beridze – A discussion of Georgian music in polite company usually relays between two poles: Zakaria Paliashvili and polyphonic choral singing. Little else of Georgia’s folk, classical and modern forms have been granted a visa to cross the borders. And yet, the more I move about the country, the more intrigued I become by the diversity of styles. Song and dance traditions vary between regions and even between villages. There is a lively hip-hop scene in K’ut’aisi, and the whiff of a garage band catches my ears some nights in my neighborhood here in T’bilisi. The conservatory is still a lively place. For better or for worse, the Rus-pop virus has infected the disc-players of all who own a … [Read more...]