Thursday, June 15, 2006

An Affair to Remember

I had a dream last night that I visited Dan Magazin's home in Vallejo. I've never actually been there. But in the dream it was spacious with huge purple velvet sectional sofas in the living room -- forming two whole right angles. There was a big heavy wooden door between the front hallway and a small entryway. Stephen was there and so was Stephen's mom, plus two little kids, and boy and a girl, who were staying over. I got the feeling they were relatives.

In the dream I got into a conversation with Dan about the movie An Affair to Remember. I told him about my frustrations with the movie. I've only seen it once, when my mom showed it to me on DVD, so the DVD version may not be the "real" theater version.

But anyway -- I told Dan I thought the first half of the movie was really well-written, and Deborah Kerr and Cary Grant were so smart and sophisticated, and I could relate to the story even though it was taking place in the 50s.

The movie could have ended for me after the ship got back to New York. The second half of the movie stopped being a comedy, and got really preposterous. The characters lost all their intelligence and savvy and became hopeless caricatures. I couldn't suspend disbelief enough to get into the saccharine story that ensued. The characters you met in the first half weren't believable doing the things they did in the second half. It didn't make any sense.

In real life I remember telling my mom as much, as politely as possible since I knew she'd been really looking forward to showing me that movie. (I remember her confessing there were a couple of scenes she could have done without.) Apparently in my dream realm I wanted to reiterate those points to Dan for some reason.

Monday, June 12, 2006

A great weekend of music

My ears are so happy right now. They had a full-spectrum overdose of great sounds that started Friday at Artists' Television Access in San Francisco.

Matt Davignon curated a show all about improvised film soundtracking, with films chosen by Sarah Lockhart, and featuring performers Myrmyr (Agnes Szelag and Marielle Jakobsons), Mr. Marauder & Luz Alibi, and a quintet consisting of Matt, Moe! Staiano, Lance Grabmiller, Konoko Ishii and David Michalak.

The music was amplified but not too loud, and all the players were sensitive and skilled improvisers. Best of all, the event was sold out and some extra folks were standing in the back of the hall, which I'm told is unheard of for gigs there. I really dug the show. Mr. Marauder/Luz Alibi's effort for the film "Vienna Action!" sticks in my mind because of the subject matter of the film (gluttony/animal rights) as well as their great soundtracking effort. The quintet's soundtrack to "Romance Sentimentale" was also a standout. It was very haunting and beautiful.

Sunday night was haunting and beautiful too. I went to the SIMM series concert at the Musicians' Union Hall also in San Francisco to hear the cellist Sue Schlotte, first in a duo with Gino Robair, and then in a trio with Garth Powell and Matthew Goodheart.

After a week of very loud sounds (including Tuesday's FestEvil), it was a cool contrast to hear an acoustic show complete with extremely quiet sounds that had the audience in breathless silence. I had managed to choose a seat right between two air conditioning vents and I was freezing cold, but I didn't dare pick up my jacket and put it on, because I'd have made extraneous sounds -- especially if my wallet chain clanked against something. (Gino told me later that if it had, he would have just taken the chain from me and started improvising with it. :) )

It's hard to describe what a treat it is to put your ears and heart in the hands of people who really know what they're doing, and have them deliver all that and more.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Me and the motorcycle

I had a dream last night that I acquired a BMW motorcycle. I'm pretty sure it was a gift and I didn't buy it for myself.

In real life I've never ridden a motorcycle and in the dream, I was practicing riding it around a parking garage. I succeeded in navigating the spiral ramp down the parking garage levels at a slow speed. I was proud of that.

Then I went to try the freeway, only to find traffic at a standstill. Since I was a beginning rider I decided not to do any white-lining, and just sat there in traffic waiting with everybody else. Other motorists, also stuck in traffic, admired my bike and asked me questions about it. I remember the little kids in passing cars were especially into it.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

X-Men 3: Your one-stop shop for female degradation

About a half a dozen people, including me, celebrated Matt Davignon's birthday by going to see X-Men 3 on Friday night. It was a great hang but a sucky movie. I was deeply disappointed because I love the X-Men and I thought the first two movies were kinda fun. But not this one. It just left me depressed and offended. Inasmuch as comic books and comic book movies create modern mythology, you can never tell how big an impact it will have. If it's reflecting the current American view of women, I feel like I should be scared.

Go no further if you don't want to be spoiled.

1. We're informed that the most powerful mutant ever seen on Earth is Jean Grey. Her powers go way beyond anybody else's in the film. But of course, she can't control them. So she can't be allowed to have them. If she is allowed to have them, she will kill everyone. So Professor Xavier (a man -- kindly and idealistic and naive, but a man nonetheless) must set up barriers in her mind to keep her from having those powers, thereby dividing "Jean" from "Phoenix" so she won't kill everyone. When these barriers give way she does indeed start killing everyone -- her lover Cyclops, and Professor Xavier himself. She tries to kill her other aspiring lover Wolverine, and only because he heals so fast, does he escape having the flesh flayed from his bones. He gets up close to her and she begs him to "save" her from the phenomenal power she wields. So tragically he's gotta stab her to death with his claws.

Moral: If powerful women are not taken down, they will kill off a bunch of powerful men. This is inevitable because women are incompetent to control their awesome power. So powerful women must be taken down for the good of Planet Earth.

2. Rogue, who has the power to suck the life force out of regular people and powers out of other mutants, is bummed because she cannot touch anyone. This includes her fella, Iceman. She happens to catch sight of Iceman making an impromptu skating rink out of the school fountain for fellow X-Woman Kitty Pryde so she can skate around with him on it. Instead of sucking the life out of Kitty Pryde and/or Iceman, Rogue decides to take the Mutant Cure so she can hold Iceman's hand.

Moral: Men prefer women with no powers. If you've got inconvenient powers, and you're female, you'd better get rid of them, or your guy will leave you. And no amount of power is worth it if you don't have a MAN!

3. Mystique, a badass mutant shapeshifter, is very scary-looking in her natural form, with deep blue skin. She is also relentlessly murderous and forceful. While being liberated from the clutches of the government, she gets hit with the Mutant Cure. Blue skin and powers disappear to reveal a naked, helpless supermodel. Magneto and his lackeys summarily turn their backs on her and stalk away leaving her there.

Moral: Underneath every powerful woman is a naked, helpless supermodel. Nothing she does, nothing she knows, and nothing she's been through means anything once she has outlived her usefulness to the patriarchy.

The above three points are just what I remember off the top of my head. I remember these things even though they succeeded in distracting me with Professor Xavier, Magneto, Wolverine, and other assorted male eye candy.

I won't even go into how divergent this version is events is, compared to the REAL X-Men canon. I just hope y'all won't spend your hard-earned money on it, unless you wanna donate towards a backlash against the women in your lives.