Sunday, February 26, 2012
This caught my attention because of the presence of Aubrey Plaza in the video, but I actually like the song as well. Father John Misty is led by Josh Tillman, ex-Fleet Foxes drummer, and reminds of me of something this band might have released. Father John Misty's album is out in May.
Sunday, February 19, 2012
From Scorsese's The Last Waltz. I was digging into a Band boxed set I hadn't listened to in awhile and found this track, which showcases the late Rick Danko on vocals and the mad, out-of-time keyboards of Garth Hudson. On the "Q&A" section of the Criterion Mystery Train blu-ray, I'm pretty sure I heard Jim Jarmusch call The Band his favorite band of all time. If I heard correctly, then that's wonderful and very surprising.
writes another play. In the meantime she seems to have found a calling that's just as meaningful to her, and in its own way maybe even harder. (NYT, photo by Joan Marcus of Cynthia Nixon in the current NY production of Wit)
Lynne Meadow, the artistic director of the Manhattan Theater Club and the director of the current production, was one of those who passed on “Wit” in the ’90s. “It was for personal reasons,” she said the other day, explaining that at the time she had just undergone cancer treatment herself. A year ago her colleagues asked her to reread it, and this time around, she said, “I felt the play chose me.” She began talking with Ms. Edson on the phone and then met her for the first time in December, when Ms. Edson came to New York to see a rehearsal. “Maggie is one of the most extraordinary people I’ve ever met,” she said. “She’s enormously intelligent and articulate, but intelligence alone doesn’t write a play like this, which is so emotionally accessible as well as intellectually fulfilling.” She added that she wished Ms. Edson would write another, and quoting a line from “Wit,” spoken by a young doctor who is a bit of a know-it-all, she said, “ ‘ I have a few ideas.’ There are some thoughts I’d like to share with her. But it will only happen when she’s ready.” Explaining why she had no urge to repeat her success, Ms. Edson said, “If it had happened right away — if I’d written the play in ’91 and then won the Pulitzer in ’92 — that might have created a different trajectory.”
Saturday, February 18, 2012
Wednesday, February 15, 2012
You can hear a great interview with Nick Lowe from the WTF podcast here, and that led me to this wonderfully offhand dressing-room workout featuring Lowe, Wilco, and (mostly) Mavis Staples. Happy Wednesday....
Sunday, February 12, 2012
What can be said? She was huge in a way that musicians aren't huge anymore, and it was because of pure talent as opposed to flaunting sexuality or chasing trends. I chose this happy song from her most recent album; it isn't among her most familiar or greatest vocal performances, but the energy and presence were still there. RIP Whitney
Saturday, February 11, 2012
Tuesday, February 07, 2012
Lucking Out dawdles only in a chapter that begins as a discussion of the New York ‘70s porn scene, and it’s as if Wolcott (who seems a temperate fellow, certainly no punk) was asked to write this part of the book in the hopes that sex might gin up the sales. Fortunately Wolcott uses porn as a counterpoint to his emerging love of ballet, an art form he approaches as an outsider and comes to love. I’d enjoy a Wolcott book on the world of late Balanchine New York ballet culture; the way he describes audience members and young ballet students attempting to reenact the dancers’ moves made me want to catch the next train to Lincoln Center. If the moment that Wolcott chooses to label the “end of an era’ (the murder of John Lennon) isn’t a surprise then the joy and particularity with which he recounts his early New York years certainly is. The aptly titled Lucking Out is the story of a man who made the most of his ticket to the show.
Sunday, February 05, 2012
Saturday, February 04, 2012
There’s a natural tendency to appreciate The Artist for the fact that exists at all. Someone did this, we tell ourselves; they wrote a script and worked with actors and came up with a visual scheme that honors 1920’s silent cinema. I had never heard of Jean Dujardin or Berenice Bejo before this movie, but Hazanavicius cast well. Dujardin has the looks and pulls off the swagger of a star of the era, and Bejo’s smile and eyes say what her mouth isn’t allowed to. Things get self-aware at times, there’s a funny dream sequence with sound added and a loyal dog sidekick, but except for those moments Hazanavicius keeps The Artist on the level of well-made homage. The film never breathes, save for one striking shot of Valentin and Peppy meeting on a staircase headed in opposite directions. It is a shiny valentine to the movies and to our romantic ideas of the movies, and nothing more. The Oscar voters don’t owe us social relevance or deep meaning with their choices, and I’ll admit it’s unfair to review a movie in the context of awards nominations. Yet as clever and appealing as The Artist is, what are we left with at the end? To watch a silent film in 2012, one made without irony, is to give over to another kind of cinema. But The Artist leaves us admiring the unfamiliar form and not enough of what‘s underneath; it’s novelty for its own sake
I don't often write about a single episode of television that isn't a series finale, but the premiere of HBO's Luck is an occasion for celebration thanks to the return of writer/creator David Milch. As in his Deadwood, Milch creates a world and then slowly teases out meanings and connections. I don't know if the gamblers (led by Kevin Dunn and Jason Gedrick) who strike it rich in the pilot will have anything to do with Dustin Hoffman's newly out-of-jail and plotting something Ace, but the fact that Milch didn't feel the need to answer that question or explain very much of anything right away means that there's a long game being worked. The confidence of the first hour of Luck may be its most attractive feature, just beating out the horse races shot by director Michael Mann. If Mann and Milch are content to let us sit with these actors and these characters for such a heavily hyped first hour then they believe in what they're doing, and I'm happy to spend time Nick Nolte (as a trainer) and Michael Gambon (yet to come) along the way.
Thursday, February 02, 2012
While I wait until the weekend and time to catch up on current films, please enjoy Mary Elizabeth Winstead discussing her role in Smashed. This drama of addiction and marriage was a well-received entrant in the recent Sundance Film Festival and co-stars Aaron Paul of Breaking Bad. (Nick Offerman and Megan Mullally also appear.)
On a more serious note, I applaud the decision by The Decemberists to withdraw their support for the Susan G. Komen foundation in light of that group's recent severing of ties with Planned Parenthood. Alyssa Rosenberg explains why the band's actions matter.
What’s particularly nice about the Decemberists’ action is that they’re not withdrawing the fight—they’re just giving their money to a direct service provider instead. Susan G. Komen for the Cure has a long list of bipartisan celebrity supporters, some of whom—like Neil Patrick Harris and Cynthia Nixon—have bigger national platforms than an indie band. Let’s hope some of them make the same decision, and help make it so Planned Parenthood is better off after losing Susan G. Komen’s support than they were before.