Sunday, September 2, 2007

Here's a live acoustic cut from Bombs Away in Corvallis--"Walkin' Blue." Adrian and Sam taped this show and it turned out pretty good.

Speaking of taping, I just watched The Conversation--Coppola's follow up to The Godfather. It is indeed inspired by Antonioni's Blow-Up, with an intensely introverted, anxious tone--stark and oppressive in alot of ways, not all that easy to watch. Circa '74, I guess this is a straight shot of Nixonian paranoia--the surveillance industry convention was really something. The callow sales pitch and the brill cream--this isn't an organic goat cheese conference down in Santa Cruz on David Crosby's farm. This is Ugly America to Antonioni's sallow hipsterdom--dig the the sub-Dick Clark Yardbirds cameo in Blow-Up...but unlike Blow-Up, The Conversation isn't so chilly that it can't convey coarseness. With Antonioni you really just want to hear someone belch, or watch them eat a bacon cheeseburger. (Or you can rent Revenge of the Nerds.) One is a paranoid vision, the other an anorexic vision. All them Euro dames who can hide by standing behind a broom stick. Where's my Joan Jett tape?

There was a fleeting moment near the wind-up when Gene Hackman is hunkered down under a sink, drilling a hole in the wall to pipe a wire through to the other side, in which he conveyed so much about the character's connection with his work--his dexterity with the technical aspect, his inventiveness and intensity. In almost every other respect he was an alien. It strikes me as rare to really show this--we generally like to know what someone is good at more than we want to see them doing it, in movies and in life. Or maybe in movies we like to see it but rarely is it soulfully conveyed as it is by an actor like Gene Hackman. Someone made a remark about 20th century American Lit: that the great books were all about people on vacation. (Maybe this was about Fitzgerald/Hemingway era.)

Now you have tv shows about people working: CSI, for instance. But their lab looks like the set of a Gary Numan video, and they invent processes on the fly that would take hundreds of hours to test and perfect. (Here, let's squirt Blue Nehi on this dried up tongue we found at the construction site, and it'll match up with the dessicated moth droppings imprinted on the plaster cast of the tire track. Science is all no-sweat miracles!) You also have this reality show about the guy who works all the dirty jobs.

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