Monday, December 01, 2008

What have you been watching, listening to, reading? (Keep refreshing. Post updated at the top through the day as I find arts-related items)

Because the People Yearn for More Yow
Jesus Lizard reunites.

Myoung Ho Lee doesn't place an object on a canvas, he puts a canvas behind an object, in this case, trees.

Synechdoche, New York
If you have been reading this blog long enough to follow my love of Charlie Kaufmann's last film - Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind - you will understand my anticipation of his newest has been intense, even knowing that I wouldn't (couldn't?) like it as much. I finally saw it last week. Without giving anything away plot-wise, here are my initial thoughts:

It is a much more difficult film to sit through than his others, for many reasons. Uncompromising is the word I would use. I don't know if any recommendation is warranted here or not - if you're a fan of his other work, you will already consider it essential viewing; if you're not, then you surely won't enjoy this one either. I'm still sifting through the process of watching, let alone dealing with the emotional issues it brings to the fore (which, thankfully for me, are more easily swept aside here than in Eternal Sunshine... maybe they're too big?)

At its core, Synechdoche is about the quest to live an authentic life, to be present - real, honest, in the moment, alive to the world. And, it's about art's capacity to both reveal and cover up the personal truths that goal requires. But which kind of events enable that discovery? The mundane or the momentous? Which are more real? In which are we truer to ourselves? In which just playing to type? What if there's no difference between being and acting? And what compels us to navigate these waters anyway? Is it death? is it love? Are we ever more alive than when aware that we're dying? More in love than when aware it is fading? Is a house most a home when it is on fire?

I will probably need to see it again.

The NYTimes seasonal blog devoted to the Oscars is back up and running. Early buzz? Slumdog Millionaire. I saw the trailer last week - looks fun. In a good way. Other recent trailers include...the new (old) Star Trek movie.

What's on your Christmas List and what should be on mine?
Let's hear it in the comments: books, CDs, DVDs. Also, bonus question: If you could give and receive one box set (either CDs or DVDs), what would it be?

Elvis Costello's new TV show debuts Wednesday on the Sundance Channel. Elton John is the first guest. Next week is Lou Reed. Bill Clinton is on Dec. 17. Rufus Wainright, Herbie Hancock, Smokey Robinson, The Police, among others, are on the calendar.

Weekend Box Office
1. Four Christmases
2. Bolt
3. Twilight
4. Quantum of Solace
5. Australia

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