September 14-24, 2015

After Hopscotch came Hopscotch Recovery. But also a quick trip to Atlanta, where I had a decent burger at a neighborhood store/grill in Cabbagetown, saw Mr. Quintron play his Weather Warlock in an art gallery, and oh yeah, talked to students for six hours or so.

Then another 4-6 hours of studententalken at UNC. Friday night, after it was all over, we went to the Carolina and saw Grandma, which I did not enjoy as much as I had hoped I would. The script was kind of over-obvious (an old lady! is a lesbian! who cusses a lot!) and over-determined (her daughter has issues! so does her granddaughter!) and, as M said as we were leaving, it sounded like someone’s first attempt.

(of course as it turns out, the dude who wrote & directed it, generally a purveyor of vaguely screwball comedies & rom-coms, was actually nominated for an Oscar for best adapted screenplay for a Hugh Grant/Nick Hornsby thing — but I guess that probably just proves the point)

Plus, and there’s no easy way to say this, Lily Tomlin’s upper lip looked like a piece of bologna that had been glued on to her real upper lip. It was smooth and rarely moved. I don’t think she could have puckered if she had tried — a double tragedy for someone whose early career was made, in part, on puckering. She’s 74 years old. She doesn’t look 74, but she also doesn’t look any other human age.

I know she’s far & away not the only one, but it hits harder with the ones you respect & admire.

Anyway, point being, her face interfered with her ability to act on camera. Her eyes were down in there, working, but she mostly relied on just hamming the shit out of every line she had to deliver. It was depressing.

Saturday we were back at the Carolina for RetroEpics, albeit just one, Once Upon a Time in the West, which I’d already seen multiple times. I was thoroughly diverted by it, although M had read a comparatively negative review of it aloud to me right before we walked over there, so I was a little more acutely aware of its, uh, quirks. It’s kind of all quirks, actually, and is in many ways closer in spirit to a Jodorowsky movie than to “western” movies, even earlier Leone westerns.

Beyond that, I guess I’ve mostly been working & reading. Listening to music. Today I listened to the new Wyrms album, At Wizard Island. It’s pure fuzzed-out garage/psych/pop pleasure, just one hook after another, totally buried in fuzz, but still absurdly catchy. Pretty hard to argue with.

At the opposite end of one spectrum or another, I’ve also had a big chunk of Wes Tirey’s discography on repeat. He’s from Asheville, plays guitar, kinda talk-sings in that old, weird style — but he also unexpectedly busts out ominous organ parts, or goes on long improvisational flights. Cue up that Bandcamp & sample a bunch of it.

Tonight there are two shows in town that I want to go to, which is still kind of a rarity in Durham, despite the number of venues in town. Patois Counselors are going to win this round, though, hands down, no contest.

September 14-24, 2015

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