Monday, April 11, 2005


What have you been listening to, reading, or watching?

Doug recommends Downfall: Hitler and the End of the Third Reich
Stevie T Steven P recommends, tearfully with allergies, "My Sister's Keeper"
Lewberry recommends "Bloody Sunday"
George W. Bush recommends The Knack.

Rare Music Site
Check out -- each week there is a new rare mp3 posted; only one per week. I'm sorry I missed last week, a Radiohead cover of EC's "I'll Wear it Proudly."

"You Gotta Fight the Powers that Be"
Hopefully saving the legacy of Public Enemy from becoming Flavor Flav's bizarre reality-tv romance with Brigitte Nielson, the Library-of-Congress-appointed National Recording Preservation Board has tapped the great rap band's most accomplished recording, "Fear of a Black Planet" for inclusion in the National Recording Registry. Each year, since 2002, 50 recordings have been selected for preservation. The 2004 entries were announced last week. In addition to Public Enemy's 1989 album, Article 19 favorites include Nirvana's Nevermind, The Beach Boys' Pet Sounds, James Brown Live at the Apollo, Glenn Miller's In the Mood, and especially Harry Partch's US Highball. You may remember, in a troublesome post from way back when, I pointed to a great Harry Partch site--he experimented with tuning ratios that were based on Pythagorean ratios and other whole number approaches, not the equal-tempered system we use today. He constructed his own instruments to that end. You can view the first 2 years of the registry here.

Book Recommendations Please [UPDATED]
A little prematurely--because there are still 4 weeks left until my grades are turned in and it's officially summer--I am looking forward to having the time to read actual books for a month or so at least, once May gets here. I still have a book about the great flu epidemic to finish, and after that I want to read something new - new authors, new topics. So what do you suggest? I would like both fiction and non-fiction suggestions, but prefer to avoid books about the present state of world, or American, affairs. I already think about that too much, and don't want to be as depressed as that makes me, not so early in the summer. It will already be a cloud hanging over my news-junkie intake.

UPDATE: Metacritics says the way to go is: Fiction: Ian McEwen's Saturday; Non-Fiction: David B's Epileptic. But I would prefer to get recommendations from people I could blame thank more directly, so jump in.

Doc-Day and the other Peterson case
Not that I'm suggesting you give your Monday over to TV, but if you get the Sundance Channel, Monday is Documentary Day. I only found that out last weekend when I caught the first installment (of 4) of a new film called "The Staircase," about a North Carolina man charged with murdering his wife--he claims she fell down the stairs. It is absolutely riveting and horrifying. In the spirit of The Thin Blue Line, or Brother's Keeper, or Paradise Lost, it's a case study in a justice system fixed on a target, and you watch developments as they unfold. He may be guilty--I don't know how this true story plays out. But if he's innocent, this drama is about the most terrifying thing I can imagine happening (beloved wife dies in his arms from a brutal accident, and then he's helpless against charges that he is responsible), second only to if he's guilty, in which case he has her entire family fooled into supporting him strongly. (If you know how the trial turns out, don't tell me!)

Straight Men Heart Broadway
Finally, men have found a broadway show they want to see. It seems to be taking hold as a compromise: the wife wants to see a show; the husband says ok, so long as it's Spamalot.
[A]vid theatergoers, including many gay men, will go to see almost any musical regardless of subject matter, young straight men not in the habit of seeing plays seem to need some assurance that they will find something familiar and likable. And what could be a safer bet than a guy movie like "Monty Python and the Holy Grail"?
Still, Harvey Fierstein wonders about the state of mind of the 20-something male who would attend:
"If I were of frat boy age and I had $100, would I opt for a Broadway ticket or would I want to spend that on booze and drugs?" Mr. Fierstein asked. "Even I, and I am as gay as a pink leather piƱata, would choose booze and drugs."
Weekend Box Office
1. Sahara
2. Sin City
3. Fever Pitch
4. Guess Who
5. Beauty Shop

15. Woody Allen's Melinda and Melinda (opened in Nashville this past weekend; I went to see it, but had the time wrong and missed it...maybe this week)

Anybody see any of these?

Project Greenlight
Finally caught last week's episode (#4) last night (they've moved the date to Thursday). I am starting to wonder what relationship the show actually has to the reality of the making of this film. Obviously every conflict is played up to make for drama, and the preview scenes from next week make filming look like a disaster. And yet, when I read the participants' blogs (written now after the fact - with the film presently in post-production), they refer only to the great job John does. Producer Chris Moore, who does not come off as a Gulager fan by any means, writes "I think you guys will all see that John did a great job." Screenwriter Marcus Dunstan says that Gulager "embraces each of the actors as part of his creative family" and writer Patrick Melton says, of the upcoming weeks of shooting, "it's finally time John spin his magic."

They don't sound like 3 team members who felt like Gulager failed, or is hopeless as a director. So, either they hyped the sense of disaster to keep us watching the show, or they're lying now so there's at least a chance someone will go and see it. Either way, it makes for decent TV but one of the stupidest movie marketing plans ever. You can't badmouth a movie project for months on national TV and then expect people to actually want to go see it. And if they are just going to try and put on a happy face now in public, or online, to control the damage, it's too late if the film does actually suck.

I suppose there is a third option, that they are telling the truth in both instances, and things dramatically turn for the better in the next few weeks. That's what I'm hoping for, and the reason I watch the show. If/when those hopeful things are actually happening, they would do well to put them in the show.

If you want to catch up, on Thursday (Bravo Network) they will show episodes 3 and 4 at 3 and 4 pm Eastern time before the new episode (#5) at 10 pm. On May 1, they will back up and show from episode 2 on. So get those VCRs ready.

No comments: