I just got home from the Brad Mehldau Trio show at the Village Vanguard.What a journey; I was carried away. I have witnessed intelligent virtuosity, and now know what is meant by the art of the trio. Each player is exposed; there is no place to hide. The listening is intense and subtle, the result is sublime.
Allow me now to comment on a movie two months late. I went in thinking I was gonna love it. I am a huge Bob Dylan fan. There was no doubt I’m Not There would end up in my DVD collection. But I wasn’t blown away. Disappointed even. It was fun, Cate Blanchett was awesome, the music was fuckin’ great, but it just felt disjointed. It felt devoid of any center. Like a child’s version of a Pollack painting, my son’s splattered dresser.
But, then afterwards, a few days later, something clicked. Now I think about I’m Not There all the time. And I think about Dylan in a whole new way. We all have a life, but we are different people throughout. And that’s okay. Dylan makes it ok. Dylan makes the changes in me seem minor. Always performing, he took it to an extreme, and created many worlds for himself. Who know’s what’s real (who cares). It all has value and purpose. Each of us lived and died. I am not the person I was ten years ago (ten minutes ago?).
I point you again to two radio interviews. Both of Todd Haynes, one from Terry Gross at Fresh Air (who’s ugly face lived at the top of this blog for too many months as I avoided writing) the other from Kurt Anderson on Studio 360. Both hit on what I’m talking about here, and what the film delivered. It’s okay to change. It’s okay to be a different person than who you were. In fact it’s what make life livable. So accept the you have changed and quit living in regret.
A note on the soundtrack: It’s great. The Ramblin’ Jack Elliot version of Just Like Tom Thumbs Blues is a masterpiece in understated distance; Tweedy acts like Dylan and changes a bunch of lyrics (and makes it work) on Simple Twist of Fate, and you’ve gotta hear this Antony & the Johnsons knockin, the aching drips like spilled honey.
My wife told me that I am happier when I am writing this blog.
Now I don’t necessarily think that happiness should be the goal of existence In fact I think it’s over rated, and happy people aren’t paying attention or aren’t that intelligent. But, I could use a little more happiness, and it being the new year and all, I am gonna give this thing another go.
This is the way my mind works. I want to write a blog post. I have an idea, some photos, and everything, but I prefer to procrastinate. I’ll do it tomorrow. Tomorrow turns into tomorrow turns into next week, and pretty soon I start thinking, well I can’t post now it has been too long. I’ll look stupid. Better not to. And W is right. I am happier when I act, not avoid.
Avoidance is my sabotaging my happiness.
Anyway, I’m back. Two or three posts a week. I’ll do the best I can to let you know what I’m up to.
I’ve seen two movies in this fall/winter where I immediately went to a bookstore (coincidentally the same BN at Union Square) and bought the original book. First was Into the Wild, for a re-read, and the second was yesterday when I bought The Diving Bell and the Butterfly after seeing that one.
Perhaps more to come on both. Perhaps something about my diet (which started today). Our upcoming trip to Y-town. My cool new bike. Job-hunting. Reading lists. Obama. My anger at my iPhone. Explaining to a five year old that his favorite music teacher died un-expectantly. . . I’ve got plenty to write about.
In reference to my Rescue Dawn post last week, here are one, two interesting interviews with Werner Herzog on public radio. Terry Gross is absolutely masterful in her knowledge and questioning, in comparison Kurt Anderson sounds like a college radio DJ (Kurt’s radio show Studio 360 is, however, one of my favorites: you MUST check out the Moby-Dick episode, it is pure genius).Recently the “long wait” turned into a “very long wait” for “Little Dieter Needs to Fly” on Netflix. What gives? Get more copies of the movie, you jerks…
I subscribe to Very Short List and I am happy that I do. Recently they highlighted John Doe’s new album, A Year in the Wilderness. They do this interlocking pie chart meant to show that the subject is a combination of the performances in the graph. In this case the chart included Billy Bragg & Wilco, Richard & Linda Thompson, and Don Delillo.
That was enough to make me click through to the free, streaming album. It sounded pretty good so I forwarded to bunch of people including a friend with punk rock leanings. He thanked me for the turn-on and then pointed out that John Doe was playing in town the following evening. We went to the show and from the front row right it was great, and ever since then I’ve had the song The Golden State stuck in my head.
Now, here’s the rub. Mr. Doe (can I call him that?) is streaming the new album for free. I can hear that cool California song all day long if I want. Consequently, I don’t want to buy the album. But, I probably wouldn’t have gone to the concert without the streaming album. So, even though I won’t buy the album, it’s good that the music is available for free, right?
John Doe sings
I went fishing in Central Park this morning with my son. The little stinker caught two fish, and I caught zero. Afterwards we had a hot dog at the Bethesda Fountain (which is now a beautifully planted water garden) and watched a band called Break of Reality. They have three cellos and a drummer and played with a rockin’ style that was dark and powerful. They have a blog, and here’s one of many YouTube videos: Break of Reality
What was it like before we got here, what will happen when we’re gone?
Eric Sanderson of the Wildlife Conservation Society (the folks who run the zoos of NYC) is leading a project that is attempting, “to reconstruct the ecology of Manhattan when Henry Hudson first sailed by in 1609…” What was this island like before Europeans got here? Stay tuned for an exhibit at the Bronx Zoo, and a interactive web site.
Alan Weisman has written a book called The World Without Us that describes what will happen to the earth if all the people were suddenly gone. Here is a good interview with Weisman, and check out the slideshow of what will happen to New York City when we’re all gone.