Wars and Windmills

30 July 2007

The Anglo Mage and a Satisfied Pig

My pop culture cup runneth over and my emotions have been sapped. This week I saw a fine epic come to a satisfying close and saw a film that wrenched at my core.

Indulge me as I attempt closure by opining about both.

My friend and fellow blogger Emily Gillilllilllland beat me to the review of Rescue Dawn and wrote it far more eloquently than I could. Still, the film struck a chord and I feel the need to toss two cents into the ring. Before anything else can be said, the name Steve Zahn will never again be associated with paltry rolls or a mere comic actor with one character played time and time again. Just looking at him in this movie draws and quarters your emotions in a way that would have made the Inquisition proud. It was his eyes, as Emily points out. The pain depicted in those eyes, portrayed a loss to soul and psyche that words or delineation wouldn’t have done justice; it was all Zahn. That isn’t something an average actor could have mustered. His performance is why awards ceremonies were made.

Christian Bale, not one to be out-acted, masterfully portrays Dieter Dengler with a spot on confident and proud immigrant American. There is a scene when Deiter recalls his first childhood sighting of a bomber plane during WWII in Germany. While telling the tale Bale grins and instantly channels Jim, the boy that he played 20 years ago in Empire of the Sun, a great moment. His performance is also Oscar worthy. As is the performance of the eerie whispers of Jeremy Davies playing Gene hoping for peace talks to bring him freedom. Let us just hope that Oscar’s memory is as long as the ceremony itself. Even if these actors weren’t in the movie, that it is directed and written by Werner Herzog would have been reason enough to see it. He can strip a movie genera to its essence and I was more than pleased to see him turning his Teutonic eye to Vietnam War films.

It didn't help my emotional stamina finishing the Harry Potter series just a few days before watching Herzong's film.

A heartfelt thank you to J.K. Rowling. I was going to write more, but to avoid spoiling anything I will say only that I am happily a pig satisfied. I couldn't have asked for a better denouement.

19 July 2007

Weary Memory

Sam Beam is looking more like Jesus then I ever expected him to.

With a new album due out at the end of September, I thought I would pay a quick homage to Mr. Beam in the form of a true tale entitled: When I Met Sam Beam and His Sister; or Darren Goes to a Show.

Fact. I attended a concert at Kilby Court in SLC in the year of our Lord 2002 where Iron & Wine was the headliner. Remember this nougat of information: beforehand, I ate at Beto's. A terrible choice.

Due to the size of the venue and the relative obscurity of Mr. Beam at that time I was able to get right up next to the stage and stood in front of his sister, Sarah. Remember this also: The stage at Kilby is only a foot and a half at most, so she was within a few feet of me. After a few of the songs we bantered back and forth a bit; one instance in particular is distinctive in my memory. She played an instrument, of which the name escapes me but it required her to drag a stick over ridges of a hollowed out piece of wood. It was one of those instruments that in 3rd grade if you couldn't master the recorder you are given it to play so you could still participate. After the song I said: "Impressive", and she smiled and said: "I know, I have practiced for years". "It shows", I responded. As these words escaped my mouth the Beto's grilled chicken burrito I inhaled prior to the concert decided to join our conversation; a Beto's burp was born. I was stymied as to what to do at that point. Do I say excuse me and admit that the waft came from me even though there was no doubt of it? Hell no. My only prayer was that, as it was quite silent and seeped out with the word "shows", she didn't hear it.

She didn't.

At this point the world became slow. I saw her nose slowly crinkle, her eyes squint in disgust, and her hand instinctively raise to her face to frantically mount a defensive attack. She hadn't hear it, but she did smell it. Dammit. Dammit all. Her reaction was quite normal, actually down played from what I would have done to such a vicious olfactory assault. All she said as she looked at me was: "Nasty". I didn't have the wits to apologize, but merely to blame the burrito. Giving a face to the smell probably wasn't the best move as it probably made the smell more violent, but that is all I thought to do.

At the close of the show I was laughing a bit to myself because something like that would happen to me. Mostly I felt like a cad. As we left we saw Sam sitting behind his van. I followed my friends up to him and shook his hand while lauding his show. I contemplated apologizing for burping on his sister, but as I didn't know his demeanor and didn't feel like risking a southern style beat down from someone I admired I decided against. He looked rather spry, so I slowly backed away careful to not turn my back on him just in case he already knew and was merely tempering himself until my back was to him.

Sub pop released the single take a gander:
Boy With a Coin

11 July 2007

Obtuse Sneaktheivery

What a superb new music Tuesday; Spoon and Interpol came out with new albums. I will have to return and report as to what I think of the opuses, though I have no doubts that they will both offer stellar tracks.

However, while perusing the digital booklet that accompanied Interpol's effort, I took a gander at page three and was struck with an odd sense of déjà vu and I could have sworn an eerie, dissonant, highly dramatic piano chord bellowed overhead. I knew that I had seen that image before........I knew it, I knew it. A very frustrating couple of hours ensued. When the brain finally decided to stop being oblique I realized that Ola Podrida had that exact image on his album cover that came out in April of this year. This issue has probably been discussed in depth via the internet already but it was new to me and slapped me silly. I couldn't believe what I was seeing.
Aside from Interpol's, obvious use of PhotoShop, the images are identical. To be honest, I don't know who picks the cover and album art, but I always assumed it was the artist's choice. But, perhaps this can be blamed on the thoughtless anamatrons of the large record label that Interpol is now signed under. Actually, that must be the case, I refuse to think Interpol would be that careless. Either way it reeks of the obtuseness, and is the equivalent of hiding simply by covering your eyes. It is such a blatantly poor example of sneakthieving that I hesitate to even resurrect the old-timey parlance in reference to it. However, I do recognize the impossibility of creating something purely original; every creative thought has been impressed upon and influenced by countless numbers of outside parties. Yet, this is obviously far beyond mere influence.

This makes me miss the now archaic days of holding the actual artifact in my hands. Taking it home and spinning the disk in a bulky CD player while perusing the album art and reading lyrics. In those more tangible days, this probably wouldn't have occurred.

I hope more care was put into the quality of music.

Here are a few Ola Podrida songs:


Photo Booth

02 July 2007

A Northern Bound Cavalcade

One compulsion. One trip. One gear. One flat constant drone for 8.5-hours; and another 8.5 back. One vindictive gravel patch. One wreck. One iPod shaped bruise. One set of road-rashed hands. One meal at Chiplote. One wrong turn. One great push. One northern expansion by scooter. One long trip home. One too many accidental jaunts on the freeway. One set of directions ignored. One secret road found.

No map. No A/C. No ass-less chaps. No sense. No point. No villages pillaged or plundered. No better way to spend a weekend.

Huzzah boys. The beast was bested. The road is ours.