Art, Music, & Film: February 2005 Archives

(but, by the Grace of God, I'm recovering.)

Following on posts at Against the Grain, I began to wonder about rock music. I confess a point or more of disagreement with the good Cardinal on the matter--but it was more an off-hand comment about Country Music that spawned this confession.

I have never cared for country music--far too whinyand twangy to my ears. Yes, I liked the occasional song here and there and sometimes I have liked a performer, more for their personality than for their music. However, my feeling about country music is summed up in the nausea I feel every time I hear Billy Ray Cyrus and his "Achy Breaky Heart."

However, another off-hand remark, this time in a conversation with a friend, spawned rethinking. This friend spends a great deal of time listening to the likes of Nine-Inch Nails and Ministry. I have found that I have gone beyond the need for these expressions of rage. However, he said that recently he had been buying a lot of Hank Williams Senior and Patsy Cline. And that got me thinking.

Thinking to the point where I've actually done something--borrowing a Patsy Cline disc from the library. Now, I know you all will find this hard to believe, but I have kept myself deliberately ignorant of the likes of Patsy Cline for much of my life. I heard her name and tossed her in the Loretta Lynn bucket and said, "Not for me."

Well imagine my surprise when I found out that I had tossed her in the wrong bucket. Yes, there's the occasional yodel and the once-in-a-while twang--but Patsy Cline can really sing and she sings honky-tonk bluesy sorts of things that are absolutely gorgeous.

So, I'm happy again to admit my ignorance and to find that as I move forward in life, God works hard on me to round off the rough edges.

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Son of the Mask


Yes, I know. I groaned when I saw the preview in the theatres and I asked myself why this was necessary. And when Samuel said he wanted to see it, I said to myself, absolutely not.

Oh, well, so much for resolutions. And thank God for little boys. This is one of those rare films when the trailer really does not do justice to the sheer ingenuity and hilarity of some of the slapstick episodes throughout the film.

I laughed through more than half of it, and I was a grudging attendee. Most particularly amusing were Samuel's reactions to many of the high-energy scenes. But every father who has been left alone with an infant for the first time, every parent who wonders if their children really are out to drive them crazy--this is the film for you.

Naturally the humor was such as to amuse a six year old. Lot's of body fluids, loud noises, and intense swirling action. But the theatre I was in had more than its share of grown-ups and everyone seemed to be laughing themselves silly.

The plot is onion-skin thin, but the main point is about paying attention to those you love. So its got a great many good lessons for children, along with the body fluids, and you won't be bored. If the film is a turn-off, watch your kids and see what they see.


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Because of Winn Dixie


Charming, slight, and very, very interesting to young boys (at least). The story of a girl living with her preacher father in rural Florida. She takes in a stray and learns a great deal about dealing with the strays, the unwanted, and the abandoned in our lives.

The film does seem to suggest that we do well not to rush to judgment on those who are different. Also it teaches that we should not listen to gossip.

The dog is cute and the young female actress is quite a pretty little girl if not yet a top-notch actress. Adults might revel in seeing some favorites that have been missing from the scene too long--Eva Marie Saint and Cicely Tyson--both of whom do a splendid job.

Like the "Litmus Lozenges" featured in the film, it is sweet and sad in about an equal mix, with a happy ending and a goofy dog.


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Listening--"Missing. . ."


Listening to John Adams's On the Transmigration of Souls, a remarkable Ives-like remembrance of the tragedy of September 11, 2001. There are formless voids like those proposed by Ives in The Unanswered Questions, Reich-like paraphrases, particularly recalling the remarkable completely vocal tape-loop minimalist pieces using phrases from interviews. There are Ligeti-like choral voicings, often indistinguishable in what they are saying. Overall, a haunting piece--remarkable.

"I see buildings. . . water. . . buildings. . . water . . . "

All moving upward through grief to rebirth.

I can't say much for the transmigration of souls (nor for the whippoorwills that wait to snatch them away. But the piece of music is interesting and worthy of your attention.

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About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the Art, Music, & Film category from February 2005.

Art, Music, & Film: January 2005 is the previous archive.

Art, Music, & Film: March 2005 is the next archive.

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