Saturday, June 28, 2008

Speaking of Tom Waits

This Tom Waits quote about his wife (who he's been married to for 28 years) makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside:

"...a remarkable collaborator, and she's a shiksa goddess and a trapeze artist, all of that. She can fix the truck. Expert on the African violet and all that. She's outta this world. I don't know what to say. I'm a lucky man. She has a remarkable imagination. And that's the nation where I live. She's bold, inventive and fearless. That's who you wanna go in the woods with, right? Somebody who finishes your sentences for you."

Friday, June 27, 2008

Creepy Thin

I am watching the Machinist and I have never in my life seen anyone so horrifyingly thin as Christian Bale in this film. Thank God he gained some weight.

Glitter and Doom

I'm so glad I decided to spend the money to see Tom Waits' Glitter and Doom Tour show last night. I'm lucky St. Louis was one of the few towns to be a stop on the tour. We're the "S" in "PEHDTSCHJMBA"--the acronym of all the cities Tom is stopping at on this rare tour.

I have been sort of a mediocre fan of Waits in the past. I think I like him, I've gone to the trouble to acquire the majority of his albums, but I can't name the songs I like best and I don't know much about his history as an artist since my interest is all pretty recent. So I didn't expect such a theatrical experience. I suppose I thought he'd sit at an upright piano and just growl his songs away one after another just as I imagined he'd spent the early years of his career.

Instead he stood front and center on a round podium for most of the show and gave his band tricky stage cues that they followed perfectly. He was like a circus ringleader, surrounded by crazy props. The wooden riser he was on would puff dust whenever he stomped on it creating a smoke machine effect that flowed around his band. The show was an Experience with a capital "E." I'm a full-fledged fan now.

And so I can focus on my listening in the future and explore my expanded fan-dom, here is the set list:

Lucinda
Hoist That Rag
Come On Up to the House
Jesus Gonna Be Here
November
Black Market Baby
Rain Dogs
Trampled Rose
Goin’ Out West
Murder in the Red Barn
Anywhere I Lay My Head
Cemetery Polka
Get Behind the Mule
Eyeball Kid
Christmas Card From A Hooker In Minneapolis [TW on piano]
Picture in a Frame [TW on piano]
Invitation to the Blues [TW on piano]
Innocent When You Dream [TW on piano]
Lie To Me
Chocolate Jesus
Make It Rain

and the encore:
Way Down in the Hole
God’s Away On Business
Time

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Famous Photo Lego Re-Creations

I just have to link to this so I will have access to it again someday.

Miscellany

Tom Waits concert tomorrow night--can't wait.

My sister has really done a good job lately on adding to her Goodreads shelves. I admire that and hope I get to that place, too.

Now I think I'll get in bed and cuddle with my Kindle. And maybe Ramona. If she'll let me.

Chico

How charming is that guy???? What a doll.

And how cool must my husband be to have such terrific people love and enjoy him so much.

That my husband is cool of course is no surprise to me. But it's great to get to see it and soak in it. Those are the moments that count.

Babel Review

I'm giving this one 4.5 stars, I think. My husband certainly would not agree. I am certain of that even though I can't tell you why. We just don't think alike when it comes to movies.

Anyway, with our DirecTV out tonight, I checked out what movies we've acquired lately that I haven't watched yet and picked out Babel. I really couldn't remember much about previews or what it was about though I knew much of it was set in Africa somewhere and it would be heavy. It is indeed a heavy movie. I cried during several scenes and give credit to Cate Blanchett and Brad Pitt for making me believe them as an emotionally troubled couple with much history together. I also picked particularly favorable conditions (though not on purpose). My husband had left the stereo up rather loud, and because the movie started out quietly, I left it at that volume and I think the quality soundtrack and sound effects at a substantial volume really helped with that immersive "experience" effect.

The film involves what seems to be a current favorite plot device in films--several different story lines with some small connection tying them together. In this case our intertwined groups are a teenage girl whose mother died recently and her father who had given a gift of a rifle to a Moroccan man many months previously, a Moroccan (a neighbor of the man who received the rifle gift) and his family whose sons accidentally shoot an American tourist while playing with the rifle, Cate Blanchett who is the injured tourist and her husband on vacation in Morocco trying to get assistance after she is shot, and the Mexican illegal immigrant nanny of Cate and Brad's children who gets into trouble with the border patrol while transporting the children across the boundary.

I found all of the acting completely convincing and effective and something about the director's style just gave the whole film a sense of utter authenticity. There were some draggy moments and times when I found my mind wandering and attempting to solve the riddle in advance of how the lives were all going to fit together or what the ultimate theme was going to be. And when the film first ended I was frustrated by a couple of things. One is that in a significant scene with the teenage girl at the end of the film, she gives a note to a police officer to read after he leaves her that is clearly of great significance to her emotionally. While we do get to see the cop read the note, we don't get a translation or any inkling of what it said. I hate when they do that! The other thing I found frustrating was a vague feeling that the writer and director clearly felt these stories tied together in a more fundamentally themic way than just the relationship with the gun I described above. But I just didn't get it.

Luckily I checked out the DVD extras, was briefly disappointed by the lack of deleted scenes or a translation of the girl's note, clicked on the theatrical trailer to watch it and THERE WAS THE EXPLANATION! Really the explanation was in the title of the film all along, but my not-biblically-focused mind was just unable to focus apparently. I'm frankly not sure why the theme was literally spelled out in the trailer and left much more amorphous in the film itself, and the reason I take half a star away from this film's rating is that I do feel it was a bit too amorphous. I am not afraid to admit that I like movies that help me along and don't make me think too hard. So only 4.5 for this one, not 5.