Monday, January 26, 2004

The Urinals' John Talley-Jones is 48. Randy Newman was at UCLA in 1961*, which would make him about 60. These are not large numbers, except if you play 'popular music.' Thus, I have no excuse to quit before hacking away for another 13 to 25 years. Okay, but it sounds tiring.

*Who told a long story at his solo show Friday night about breaking a slide projector on his first day of orientation at UCLA. Another song intro: "I wanted to write something like Wagner, or Bruckner...but crappier."

Best thing about Saturday's Newman tribute (a Hal Willner production) was the band -- orchestra plus rock trio (dba Jack Shit, including two of EC's Impostors...both Peter Holsapple and Chris Spedding had been mentioned in pre-press, but no sign), plus Bill Frisell (who kinda plays everything the same), pedal steel, organ, piano (rotating, inc. Mr. Ted Reichman, whose Tzadik record about Andre Kertesz I finally listened to on the way over to the concert), and rotating conductors -- including Van Dyke Parks, who only contributed a couple of arrangements, but jeez, the man knows strings. Bad: Rip Torn, some guy from The Sopranos, Ed Hardcourt, E from the Eels (these young cats have no mic technique). Fine: Taj Mahal (flat and checking lyrics on one song), Stan Ridgway, a couple of the otherwise anon. backing vocalists -- I think one of them might have been Julie Christensen of Divine Horsemen 'fame.' (Problem: No reliable program or onstage intros.) Great: Robin Holcomb, Vic Chestnutt, Gavin Friday. Weird: Jimmy Fallon??, Victoria Williams, effective enough on "Davy The Fat Boy," but her Little Match Belle act has become self-parodic.

Could possibly have wormed my way in to the post-show reception via Ted, but decided against it. (I wrote a mixed rev. of Vic's last show here, and I don't know what I'd say if he saw it -- though he probably doesn't remember me from playing with OPB in 1992 at the 40 Watt. [He covered an entire Daniel Johnson tape that night.])

Sun, visited Bree for a while in the afternoon, tried to watch video of -The Deep End- there, Bree was hating it and I didn't entirely disagree*, wrote highly compressed Newman review and Fiery Furnaces pick, and watched rental of Michael Haneke's -Code Unknown-, spurred by a strange article on it by Robin Wood in CineAction. It was fine, serious, rigorously structured (few cuts w/in sequences, except for a scene from a bad movie Juliet Binoche's character is making, full of what Wood rightly calls 'dubious spatial relationships'), but it didn't affect me very deeply. Gonna try Varda's -Cleo 5 to 7- later today (after attempting a 2000-wd dissertation day).

*Indie remake from a few years ago of Ophuls' -The Reckless Moment-, which has its problems (James Mason's hood becomes sympathetic too quickly), but has one of the greatest acting jobs ever, by Joan Bennett. I wonder how many people who praised Tilda Swindon's performance in this one remember the amount of non-Hwd-glamour and intelligence Bennett brought to the same role.

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