Pop culture treasure, high culture trash.

Friday, August 31, 2007

Perhaps you sold out to God

A first taste of I'm Not There. The beautifully awkward homoerotic electricity between Ginsberg and Blanchett-as-Dylan (called Jude in the film) is rapturous and rare and somehow theatrical. Shakespearean, even. It's like Rosalind and Orlando in the Forest of Arden. "Where dwell you, pretty youth?" you almost expect Ginsberg to ask. Cate's character is supposed to be a man in the film's narrative, and obviously Rosalind was only dragging it up, but that makes the gender bluff all the more confusing and layered and exciting. Todd Haynes is still the only demi-mainstream director to translate queer theory to film in a way that doesn't compromise either the art or the politics. If his movies were books, he'd be Annamarie Jagose by now.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

In these dinosaur hands

Becky Smith, lighting up the Indy marquee. Screaming Females are (deservedly) lucky to have her in their corner. Ace criticism and politics aside, Bex's good citizenship is legendary; she is known to spontaneously gift people with veggie burgers and and public transportation fares and tiny green thrift store dresses, just because she is hospitable like that. May have happened to me once, even.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Domo arigato, Mr. Legato

I forgot to mention it until now, but I've been writing scripts for Peformance Today all summer. My last one airs Friday at noon in the Twin Cities, and lots of other times on local affiliates. If you hear some crazy verbal flailing about Vivaldi and Legrenzi sonatas, that's me.

Today I was researching Sibelius, but since I had the Grove Dictionary "S" volume out I also happened to see this, re: one Sinatra, Frank.

The crucial innovations in Sinatra's approach were based (unwittingly) on the Italian bel canto tradition, particularly his legato attack (known to his detractors as 'mooing'), his handling of portamento and rubato, and his sensitive modulation of vowel sounds. Like Crosby, he made full use of the microphone, but with a new awareness of its potential as an 'instrument' for achieving a wide range of dynamics and for magnifying the expressive effects of singing at medium volume. His lightness of breath and 'forward' vocal production permitted an extraordinarily clear enunciation and allowed him to concentrate on shading and nuance.

I'm really sick of everything under the sun reminding me of Morrissey, but I'm swearing to you, the comparison makes sense here. If you take Sinatra, Anglicize him, intellectualize him and make him watch Elvis's 1969 Comeback Special about a thousand times, you've got Ringleader-era Morrissey--or his vocalisms, anyway. The mooing, the weird bel canto influence, the confident rubato--it's all there. It also makes sense, I think, because neither of their voices is naturally strong or technically impressive. What they lack in power they make up for in phrasing and interpretation.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Foster child

The best part of the Simpsons movie turned out to be the Jodie Foster poster in the lobby. For serious. What is this? A poster, or an end-of-semester final project for Contemporary Queer Iconographies 102: Cinema and Graphic Design?

I am liking the post-Maverick Jodie Foster. When she's not playing a single mom, she's an astronomer, or a nun, or a jet propulsion engineer named Kyle who is also a single mom. Foster-as-icon is so dykey she sails 'round the horn and hits heterosexual again. Dark alleys! Guns! Convenient vigilante-mama hip sacks! Feminist revenge fantasia, Hollywood-style.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

I hear you're buying a synthesizer and an arpeggiator and are throwing your computer out the window because you want to make something real.

The Triple Rock gets big points for having Can’t Stand the Rezillos on its jukebox. I am more used to j-boxes whose obscurity thresholds max out at Bay City Rollers songs that are not “Saturday Night.” But not the Triple Rock. They also have Kings of the Wild Frontier, which means you can play “Antmusic” and feel terribly ironic and meta and pleased with yourself. So unplug the jukebox/ and do us all a favour. Yes, Adam Ant sings in British spellings. He is talented that way. He did, let us remember, rock the disoriented androgynous pirate look long before Johnny Depp. If not quite Keith Richards.