My five-year-old and I went to her first concert this week. We saw Marker, a group of younger musicians led by Ken Vandermark. She loved it but wanted to leave 20 minutes in because she was tired. It was cool to finally see the Jaybird (Hi Burgin!), which houses the Alabama Zine Library. I’ve seen Vandermark in several live settings and he’s always focused and committed to whatever work he’s performing.
In March we are planning on seeing a performance of Steve Reich’s Drumming. I’m probably more excited than she is.
Earlier this week I wrote about Daphne du Maurier’s “Don’t Look Now” and Macbeth for another round of Test Prep for The Terror Test. She is someone I look forward to reading more of soon. I wrote about 13 pages and cut it to <2K words. At some point, I want to revisit and extend the piece.
If you don’t know the story of the horror boom that began in the late ’60s and early ’70s and lasted until the ’90s and are interested in it, then this is a great book. It’s still pretty good, if you’ve been reading that story for years. I’ve been reading books about horror since I could read. I read magazines like Fangoria, GoreZone, Deep Red, and others. Reading some of these stories today though comes with a little sadness. So many of these folks are gone, a few very recently: Romero, Craven, O’Bannon, Hooper, Blatty, etc.
Fantastic graphic memoir about the immigrant experience, Vietnam, America, and much more than that suggests. I grew up with many friends who were first and second generation Vietnamese-American and later I tutored Cambodian monks. I loved hearing about Angkor Wat and would love to see it in person some day. Many told powerful stories about fleeing war or the Khmer Rouge. These communities always treated me like family. Bui gets at not only the complications of these larger societal difficulties, but also the complications of family. I read it in one sitting and will likely read it again.
A friend mentioned The Color of Pomegranates (1969) by Sergei Parajanov to me this week. I hadn’t seen it in years, not since my days of renting dusty library VHS copies. Discovering that libraries had films was a revelation. In middle and high school, I grew up on an island (not as exotic or as fun as it sounds–I worked at a seafood restaurant) and the nearest library was about an hour away. I should have checked out the Bookmobile that came down maybe once a week, but instead, I ordered books and movies through catalogs. There was no where else to spend that restaurant money anyway.
My friend and I laughed about how awful reds looked on VHS (lots of red in Pomegranates). Anyway, FilmStruck/Criterion has a restored version for streaming and it has the highest quality in which I’ve seen any of his films.
Pomegranates is gorgeous. Every frame is like a painting or collage and is in reference to aspects of poet Sayat Nova’s life or work, which I only know from this film. There are excerpts of poems read, but if I remember correctly, there is no dialogue. Characters communicate through gesture, action, and facial expression. Parajanov, at least what I’ve seen by him, made visually dense and symbolic films. He influenced Tarkovsky and they grew to be friends.
Not a movie for everyone, but possibly for fans of Deren, Buñuel, Jodorowsky, Švankmajer, Greenaway, Resnais, and other arthouse or surreal short films.
I like red peppers and Jan Švankmajer movies.
1. Current Listening: Lots of soul from Muscle Shoals
2. Current Viewing: A Hard Day's Night (1964).
3. Current Reading: H.G. Wells: In the Days of the Comet