February 23-27, 2015

Monday night was Neko Case’s hosting of a screening of Repo Man, with special guest Michael Nesmith. After I got home I looked her up & discovered that Neko is literally 1 day older than I am. I don’t know if that resulted in any increased sense of affinity, but near-coincidences are nice.

Obnoxious host dude mostly sat back and let Neko interview Nesmith, which was vastly superior to him opening his endlessly annoying mouth. N + N had apparently had a 3-hour lunch already & thus it was kind of like catching new friends mid-conversation, which was neat. Neko had originally schemed to get Nesmith there because she (perhaps logically) assumed that he’d had a hand in putting together the soundtrack, but he quickly established that his only involvement in the project at all was as moneyman.

Which frequently took the form of telling Alex Cox that he couldn’t have any more money & was going to have to make do, which, among other things, resulted in the awesome low-budget glowing-car effect at the end, which was literally achieved via reflective highway paint on the entire car, and a bright green light. That tidbit alone == price of admission.

This time around I came away thinking that Dick Rude was definitely the weak link in the whole thing – everybody loves his lines, but his reactions & timing always seem off. 

Anyway. Only real disappointment was that the conversation didn’t/couldn’t go as deep into the soundtrack as I would have liked – Nesmith just kept saying “that was the music that was playing in the production office all the time, really loud.” Fair enough.

The rest of the week traded off ice and snow. I should have had time to write more frequent posts because of that, but the opposite seems to have happened.

I finished the third, and final (and least satisfying) Takeshi Kovacs novel, started the Kim Gordon memoir (which inevitably is going to wind up filed in my head right next to the Viv Albertine memoir), and [apparently] came down with the flu. I can’t remember the last time I had the flu, but the symptoms (fever, all-over body ache, fatigue) seem to fit. I have a good mental model for the trajectory of a cold, but I have no idea what this thing is going to do & how long it’s going to take to do it.

Due to the combination of snow & sickness, I did a lot of comic-book reading. I wish Comixology had a Netflix/Amazon-style recommendation system, because it’s a jungle out there. This is where the nice old-fashioned people jump in & tell me that’s what comic book stores are for. And I’m sure they’re right. But then I’d have to buy paper comic books, and then either store them or give them away when I was done.

I have some good friends who are major comix nerds, and our tastes sorta overlap. But of course they also sorta don’t. In any case, for the record, these are [reasonably] current titles that I really like, in case anyone wants to take a stab at further recommendations:

  • Bad Machinery
  • Bitch Planet
  • Deadly Class
  • The Manhattan Projects
  • Ms. Marvel
  • Nailbiter
  • Revival
  • Saga
  • Trees
  • Wayward
  • The Wicked + the Divine

Friday night we watched Whiplash. I kinda really enjoyed it and kinda hated it. I’m still not sure which side I fall on, because I’m not sure what it’s actually trying to say, particularly since Jason Reitman was involved. 

Certain types of people seem to be taking it at its word, as summarized by the bald white asshole’s soliloquy in the jazz club, something about how true genius has to be spurred and flogged and just generally beaten out of people. And that it’s ultimately a solitary endeavor.

But surely it’s so over-the-top that it has to be satire, especially with a known serial deadpan satirist like Reitman as the executive producer. Right?

I finally decided that I was most comfortable assuming that the movie timeline actually stopped with the car wreck, and that the entire second half of the movie was a deathbed fantasia. It was the only answer that made sense of the whole thing & its many contradictions.

It was also extraordinarily depressing to think of all those people busting their asses & enduring endless torment just in order to play kind of bland note-perfect midsize-band arrangements of mainstream swing tunes. I mean, don’t get me wrong, it’s great music, but at this point, 50-60-70-80 years down the line, the stakes in recreating it should be pretty fucking low, and you’d hope that people would just be playing it for fun.

Given the number of Lincoln Center name-checks in the script, I’m assuming that this is all Wynton Marsalis’s fault. I’m glad we have the cooler Marsalis brother here in Durham.

February 23-27, 2015

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