Archive for December 2007
“Jimmy Guterman’s Jewels and Binoculars” will return some time in January. Ho ho ho, everybody.
There’s Jane, the kids, the G-chord at the beginning of “Powderfinger,” and not much else. But I do want to acknowledge, on my blog, that I believe, deeply, in the serial comma.
No one thought to stop the fighting, because it looked like part of the act.
“It’s only a song.”
“But you wish things between you two were that way?”
“Of course. That’s why I wrote it.”
“But it’s been a good week for us. I sold my novel, after a bidding war, for $11 million, and My Poet had a poem taken by a well-known literary journal, which gave form in the payment of an origami swan made out of her recycled submission.”
from Naheem Murr, “My Poet,” in the July/August issue of Poetry
The film I’m Not There is a mess, a parody of a Greil Marcus fever dream about Dylan, with even more internal inconsistencies than Dylan’s actual life. It may be an honest attempt to get at parts of the Dylan myth, but those parts are only small parts (the past 25 years of that myth aren’t even addressed), and the myth probablybears no relation to Dylan’s real life.
Cate Blanchett’s impersonation of Eat the Document-era Zimmy is audacious and compelling, even if the story of that section is chopped up like ice on a driveway. It makes a certin perverse sense that the most arresting image in the film comes during the stupidest section, the one set in an artificial Old West with Richard Gere as some sort of wacko cross between Dylan and Billy the Kid as portrayed in Sam Peckinpah’s Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid. Jim James (the singer in My Morning Jacket) sings a slow, pained “Goin’ to Acapulco” on a bandstand, accompanied by a band — and the opened, upright casket of a dead girl (the reference, I think, is to Wisconsin Death Trip). The image makes no sense (like the rest of the film), but it will stay with you (unlike the rest of the film).
(While looking for the above photo of the “Goin’ to Acapulco” performance,” I just found another review that highlights the scene, from the San Marcos Daily Record.)
The uploader requests that we don’t embed, but here is a great way to spend a few minutes on this snowy morning.
<a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photo_zoom.gne?id=1977925616&size=o” … or is it?
Ask him or her. That’s the advice I picked up from an “Art of Fiction” interview with Israeli novelist David Grossman in Paris Review #182. Here’s the exchange:
Q: Do you have any strategies you employ when you get stuck?
A: Sometimes I write a letter to my protagonist, as if he were a real human being. I ask, What’s the difficulty? Why can’t you make it? What is preventing me from understanding you. It’s always helped.
And now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to write someone a letter.
P.S. Guess before you Google for the answer.
It was words, as usual, that got in the way of saying what he really meant.
As dated as tomorrow’s newspaper…
As she hummed “Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend,” it all became clear to him.
Just under a year ago, on this very blog, I blurted out how excited I was that a friend had sent me a massive DVD set of classic art house films distributed by Janus. Several of you wrote to suggest which of the 50 art house classics I should see first I soon cancelled my Netflix membership, in the expectation that Jane and I would turn the basement into our personal Brattle and watch a film a week.
The year’s nearly over. As they say on Marketplace, let’s do the numbers:
Number of the 50 classic films that I saw this year: 1
Number of those that I saw with Jane: 0
I’m committed to doing better in 2008, but it’s not like I’m going to be able to make the case for The Seventh Seal as a date movie…
Weird. Why isn’t she standing up? And, yes, that is Glen Campbell.
And that was the last time a road manager ever woke him up like that.
[Note: The following question is 100% legitimate.]
When do you write this blog? Don’t you have a job?
Indeed I do, and I like it a lot. “Jimmy Guterman’s Jewels and Binoculars” is strictly an evening-and-weekends operation, regardless of when the cranky Blogger software indicates that the posts were, uh, posted. I’d love to tell you more, but I have to get to work.
PLAYBOY: What made you decide to go the rock-’n'-roll route?
DYLAN: Carelessness. I lost my one true love. I started drinking. The first thing I know, I’m in a card game. Then I’m in a crap game. I wake up in a pool hall. Then this big Mexican lady drags me off the table, takes me to Philadelphia. She leaves me alone in her house, and it burns down. I wind up in Phoenix. I get a job as a Chinaman. I start working in a dime store, and move in with a 13-year-old girl. Then this big Mexican lady from Philadelphia comes in and burns the house down. I go down to Dallas. I get a job as a ‘before’ in a Charles Atlas ‘before and after’ ad. I move in with a delivery boy who can cook fantastic chili and hot dogs. Then this 13-year-old girl from Phoenix comes and burns the house down. The delivery boy – he ain’t so mild: He gives her the knife, and the next thing I know I’m in Omaha. It’s so cold there, by this time I’m robbing my own bicycles and frying my own fish. I stumble onto some luck and get a job as a carburetor out at the hot-rod races every Thursday night. I move in with a high school teacher who also does a little plumbing on the side, who ain’t much to look at, but who’s built a special kind of refrigerator that can turn newspaper into lettuce. Everything’s going good until that delivery boy shows up and tries to knife me. Needless to say, he burned the house down, and I hit the road. The first guy that picked me up asked me if I wanted to be a star. What could I say?
PLAYBOY: And that’s how you became a rock-’n'-roll singer?
DYLAN: No, that’s how I got tuberculosis.
I hate all those there-are-two-different-kinds-of-people formulations, but today I’m thinking that, when it comes to novels, there are indeed two different kinds of people: those who want to write a novel and those who want to have written a novel. I hope I’m in the first camp, but in my self-questioning moments I fear I’m in the second. Back to work…
I enjoy Neil Young’s work most when he’s working at the extremes: either his extremely quiet, extremely precise, sometimes very funny acoustic tales of longing and spiritual devastation — or his extremely loud, extremely sloppy, sometimes very funny electric tales of longing and spiritual devastation. Much of the time he’s somewhere in between (think of recent albums like Are You Passionate?) and nowhere near as interesting. Last night’s show at the Orpheum, though, was a thrill for those of us who want to hear him at his two poles. His first set was solo acoustic, heavy on rarities and unreleased numbers, with the highlights being hard-edged takes of “Ambulance Blues” (from On the Beach) and “Sad Movies” (I have it on a bootleg of a 1976 show in London, but I think the song is officially unreleased — dear readers, please tell me if I’m wrong). The electric set was wild, featuring both long-loved (and long-underplayed) country-rockers “Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere” and “Winterlong” and some strong uptempo numbers from the new Chrome Dreams II hodgepodge. Indeed, as a sign that this was not merely an oldies show, the electric half of the show peaked with a stomping, set-closing, 15-minute-long, impolite-building-up-to-ferocious, shattering-everything-in-its-way, try-anything, peak-Crazy-Horse-worthy, solos-everywhere, and very much new “No Hidden Path.” It’s better to burn out…
Set list: From Hank To Hendrix / Ambulance Blues / Sad Movies / A Man Needs A Maid / Try / No One Seems To Know / Harvest / Campaigner / After The Gold Rush / Mellow My Mind / Love Art Blues / Heart Of Gold // The Loner / Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere / Dirty Old Man / Spirit Road / Bad Fog Of Loneliness / Winterlong / Oh, Lonesome Me / The Believer / No Hidden Path // Cinnamon Girl / Cortez The Killer