Low’s Perfect Sound in Birmingham

Low entranced a Birmingham, Alabama audience on Friday evening with a set of music spanning their 16-year history. 20160205_233014The set list was magical, the sound full and melodious, the visuals, the drinks, the venue, all of it so right that I thought about how great it was to be alive. Screenshot (5)It was like childhood contentment, almost knowing something to be true, turning ahead, out of nothing, more real than metal, naked, science and math and art and language, all of that in their sound. (Click here or on the picture below to hear for yourself) lowmarqueeAnd so, I was pretty excited after the show and tracked all of the band members down – Alan Sparhawk, Mimi Parker and Steve Garrington – and tried to explain it all to them.absence
I admit that I did go on and on and my wife tried to pull me away, realizing that I was acting like John Steinbeck’s Lenny, squeezing the beauty and truth out of a thing, but none of them seemed to mind too much. And then I wanted to thank them for that too.

Ice Friday: Garcia Marquez’s “Chronicle”

Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s A Chronicle of a Death Foretold is, quite literally, infested with literary devices. Note the hyperbole, repetition and dense imagery of the following:

She would stay until dawn writing letters with no future. She became lucid, overbearing, mistress of her own free will, and she became a virgin again just for him, and she recognized no other authority than her own nor any other service than that of her obsession. She wrote a weekly letter for over half a lifetime. (93)

20150717_105906And here:

She only took the time necessary to say the name. She looked for it in the shadows, she found it at first sight among the many, many easily confused names from this world and the other, and she nailed it to the wall with her well-aimed dart, like a butterfly with no will whose sentence has always been written. (47)
IMG_4624No matter how much Mr. Marquez alliterates, foreshadows and hyperbolizes, he does place the reader where he wishes with confidence and clarity:

“Those shitty dog!” She shouted. “Kill them!” The order was carried out immediately and the house was silent again. (74)

“Anomalisa”: What Film Should Be

I’m a sucker for film. Most of all, I love the opening moments, the dimming of the theater lights, the black of the screen, the slow fade in of sound, the distributor’s logo coming in. paramount-inAll of that magical promise lies ahead…a feeling which lasts maybe five minutes, when the realization sinks in that this is just another wooden story that will go on and on, dull and predictable, films like The Martian and The Revenant torturing viewers with the the same ups and down until – surprise, surprise – our hero triumphs again. Goody.revenantAccoladed films like Carol and Youth moan down a similarly dreary course, a tedium of monotonous reflection and ordeal until everyone, including the audience, runs out of gas.youhtAnd these are supposed to be the worthwhile films of the year, all nominated for the gold statuettes, making me realize that there’s no point in going to the movies.

Ah, but then, out of the dim, arises Charlie Kaufman’s Anomalisa, a film also focused on life’s futility, excessively so, and yet turns out to be a wonder. anomalisa-seamsThe wonder of the film is not in the characters, not the dialogue or the story, nor even the stop-motion animation. Instead it’s in the craft of the moment, the startling realization that all of the secondary characters have the same face and voice, the awkward interactions of sex initiated and carried through, the brief terror elicited when the protagonist picks at the seams in his face, seeming ready to pull it off to reveal…what? anomalisa handThis is why I go to the movies, to find films like Anomalisa, where I forget about my uncomfortable seat, even dreary old time, and am transported, just as promised.

Not surprisingly, Kaufman’s crowd-funded film is not nominated for Best Feature at the Oscar, but instead for Animated Feature, which it will likely lose to Pixar’s Inside Out.inside

Time for the Trump Shirts?

Trump isn’t Hitler. He just sounds like him…

Hitler: In the course of my life I have very often been a prophet, and have usually been ridiculed for it. Today I will once more be a prophet.

TrumpThey laughed at me when I said to bomb the ISIS controlled oil fields. Now they are not laughing and doing what I said.trump1HitlerAs Fuehrer of the German people and Chancellor of the Reich, I can thank God at this moment that he has so wonderfully blessed us in our hard struggle for what is our right.

TrumpWe need somebody that can take the brand of the United States and make it great again. We need — we need somebody — we need somebody that literally will take this country and make it great again. We can do that.Hitler1Hitler: As a Christian I have no duty to allow myself to be cheated, but I have
the duty to be a fighter for truth and justice.

TrumpI have a great relationship with God. I have a great relationship with the Evangelicals. In fact, nationwide, I’m up by a lot, I’m leading everybody. But I like to be good.trumpfans2Hitler: The Jew does not possess an inner spiritual life. I do not need to explain here what a Jew generally looks like. You all know him. In the most solemn moments he flickers his eyes and one can see that even during the most beautiful opera he is calculating dividends.

Trump: (The Mexicans) are sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists.Hitler2Hitler: The war against Russia will be such that it cannot be conducted in a knightly fashion. This struggle is one of ideologies and racial differences and will have to be conducted with unprecedented, unmerciful, and unrelenting harshness.

TrumpAnd the other thing is with the terrorists, you have to take out their families. When you get these terrorists, you have to take out their families. They care about their lives; don’t kid yourself. But they say they don’t care about their lives. You have to take out their families. trump2HitlerLet the nation know that its existence—which depends on its internal order and security—cannot be threatened with impunity by anyone!

Trump (To security staff, regarding protesters): Throw them out! Throw them out into the cold! No coats! Confiscate their coats!trumpfansTrump supporters are getting the message; at a December rally in Las Vegas, a black protester was surrounded and threatened.

“Shoot him!”

“Light the motherfucker on fire!”

Sieg heil!”*

The Trump Shirts just need the command.TrumpBrownShirts(*Cited from Ryan Lizza’s article The Duel in The New Yorker.)