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Go out with you? Why not... Do I like to dance? Of course! Take a walk along the beach tonight? I'd love to. But don't try to touch me. Don't try to touch me. Because that will never happen again. "Past, Present and Future"-The Shangri-Las

Monday, June 04, 2007

Cultural Pursuits of Birmingham and Clarksville

I have a lot of kin in Clarksville Tennessee. I've never lived there, but I've got such a huge extended family congregation there that it feels like I'm related to half the town. So I was a bit excited when I saw (on my site meter) that someone from Clarksville looked at my blog! Then I got a bit creeped out when I saw that they had been doing a googlesearch for "dungeons and dragons cartoon Sheila naked." A blood relative may have looked at my blog in his search for naked cartoon pictures. Brrrr! Of course from what I remember of Clarksville, naked cartoon pictures is about as thrilling as it gets.

I owe Diane some comments on Tarkovsky's Sacrifice, but the film's still sinking in. This is one movie (Raul Ruiz's Suspended Vocation is another) that's going back into my Netflix queue for an eventual rewatch. It's so concise that unpacking it will take me some time. I'll have something to say soon, though.

The Magic City Actors' Theatre production of Evita was extraordinary. I don't know how they got the production to work so flawlessly. I really don't. I also saw a well-turned straight play, the Cripple of Inishmaan, mounted by City Equity Theatre. A few volume problems from the younger actors, but a majority of the performers offered rich character work and sharp comic timing. This, along with a crafty script, made it a show to remember. Both of these shows were operating at a semi-pro level, which surely has a lot to do with the high quality. Of course The Big Bang, a charmingly witty cook's tour of world history at Terrific New Theatre, was quite sharp. A 2-person cast and 1 person orchestra makes quality control a more focused operation.

I'm reading Clive James' Cultural Amnesia, and it's a rewarding book. Basically James offers essays about political tyranny and enriching art, unified by the pure Clive Jamesness of it all. Every page has an insight or rhetorical trick that I'll want to remember. It's also a book to argue with; James attacks John Coltrane and company for draining the swing out of jazz; I want to retort, but my love of Coltrane is so intuitive that I'm not sure I can mount an articulate counterargument. It's a bit like the Tarkovsky film; I adored it but can't talk about it yet.


Diane said...

Take your time with the Tarkovsky comments, Aaron. I know that it can be a challenge to talk about his films, and I think that's especially true with The Sacrifice.

Isn't that looooong take of the burning house amazing? If I recall correctly, they filmed that scene once, but something went wrong, so they had only one more shot to get it right. No pressure, there.

Aaron White said...

I hope they rehearsed that burning-house shot a few times!

I admit that the one fly in the ointment for me is my too-literal take on the story. The real-world politics of the master turning to the maid for love and sex irks me, and in burning his home he also burns his family's home, which ain't nice if you take it straight. But on the spiritual parable level I expect it makes more sense; he had to fulfill his promise, and as Fight Club later put it, the things you own end up owning you. This has been an important thought for me as I try to cull my excess of worldly goods, but I won't burn down my apartment. Not deliberately, anyway.