Sunday, October 09, 2005

No, not Round Two; that may have to wait until a particular piece of academic labor is not driving me to distraction. Progress steady, but slow. Just notes, in the usual mode:

Rec'd Ange's Starred Wire, finally, but I'm waiting 20 or 30 years to read it. Kidding. Need to make a date with the longish (orig. typed "longing") series near the end, but individual poems afford individual pleasures, and gain (if you've seen some in magazines) from their accumulation. An immediate startle response to rhymes I'd love to have found ("Maleviches"/"superstitious," plus, ending the previous poem, "hemistiches"), and sonic/graphic relations between single words too particular to have a name ("limp"/"iamb";"panache"/"earache"). I don't know, the light looks pretty 21st c. from here.


Double/Vanderslice last night at Schuba's (I bailed on Dungen): The Double continue to impress, moreso now that I know the songs. As I just wrote Mr. Niimi, expected but absent, I like their willingness to hurt their songs, and that there are actual songs there to bear the marks. Wish they weren't so non-communicative to the audience -- I think what they're up to is subtler than "dark and brooding," but the stage presence titls one's response in that direction. Was told that they used to not even mention they had stuff for sale; as someone who, if he were any worse at merchandising, would have people coming up asking for refunds, I empathize. JV has a new permanent band that, to be precise, doesn't so much rock as cook; fairly impressive that they didn't record Pixel Revolt w/ him, I don't think, but reproduce its tricky bits -- but I suspect/hope they'll get looser w/ it as they tour.


Watched another DVD that was sitting around, The Red House (Delmer Daves, 1947): Good, fairly showy Edward G. Robinson performance, but also interesting for the presence of a pre-singing career Julie London, playing a h.s. bombshell all the more forcefully for being 20. Two screenings, both at NU's student-run Block Cinema, both kinda comfort food for me. Arzner's Working Girls: The pet name thing between one sister and the rich guy wears thin, but otherwise, I love this movie only the slightest hair less than my favorite Arzner, Craig's Wife. This time, particularly noticed the economical set-ups -- there's this one shot through two car windows, an apt. house lobby, and into a waiting elevator; and the small parts played by intruiging actors, esp. the mad-looking switchboard operator/receptionist, two or three of the mannish women's-rooming-house residents, and Buddy Rogers' buddy "Bill," who makes the most of four dumb lines delivered drunk from an armchair. Puzzling than neither of the female leads went on to a better career, but Bree and I agreed that their unfamiliarity allows for more emotional involvement.

Also, Masculin/Feminin -- don't know, wasn't with it all the way this time, wondered if there was a Kubrick-y problem with "saying something" about "youth." Maybe it's partly that the "Marx and Coca-Cola" tag has ossified with familiarity. And the film is, obviously, unfair to Chantal Goya (both her character and, I suspect, what Godard thinks she is) in a way not the same as, but probably not unrelated to, Letter to Jane's unfairness to Jane. (I was disappointed w/ a CD of her yeye recs (inc. the songs in the film) that I picked up a few years ago; but I'm amused and sort of pleased that she went on to a long, sturdy career as an ultra-innocuous children's performer. Cheapie bins in Paris record stores are chockablock w/ 7"s on which she poses w/ Guignol, Puss-in-Boots, and the like.) But Leaud's performance hasn't dated -- the way he gradually gets worse at his cigarette-to-mouth trick, his lame sexism when he's with his friend, his complete befuddlement at how to deal with a woman he sincerely wishes to value in a different way, the crummy poetry of his make-a-record monologue. The character of the friend is interesting as well: He's a jerk, but he's also more politically committed, less content with gestures -- though it's hard to read how this fact is being judged at this juncture. Oh: And I had forgotten that the movie makes fun of Zimmy -- "Who's he?" "He's a Vietnik." "What's that?" "Half beatnik, half Vietnam." Interesting to note that it was shot by one Willy Kurant -- where was Coutard that week? Last question -- exactly what movie or kind of movie is the one the characters go see supposed to be parodying?


Bought tickets for the very last day of the big separate-admission Lautrec show at the Art Institute, which is to say, tomorrow; we tried to go the first week we were here, but I'd screwed up on which day the museum is open late; and then we put it off when Bree got sick. (She's better now, thanks.) I might not make the effort (esp. under work-related circumstances) if it didn't dot the i this summer's reading/viewing. Have until end of month to hit Flavin.

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