Tuesday, August 29, 2006

He spent all kinds of time in mind of lederhosen yet knew nothing of their provenance. His favorite kind of cactus was ocotillo for reasons that went without saying. He hated time-lapse photography and twitched at the mere mention of Irving Thalberg’s name. His favorite color was actually three colors. He regarded magnets as mystical but kept graph-paper by his bedside. His favorite sound was the sound of a fan switched off. Do you know the type?

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

The print of Buster Keaton’s Seven Chances I saw tonight at Film Forum had no soundtrack, which, after an initial spell of anxiety over being perhaps too fixated on noise to actually see anything in a situation so pregnant came to pass, proved a rich way to watch Keaton indeed. It’s not like rollicking piano and tubas and slide whistles work to obscure it much otherwise, but his expressiveness was all the more nuanced and loud. Interesting too how the silent print evoked a sense of sonic naturalism that never accompanied films of the sort (this one is from 1925, a “silent” of course accompanied by music made with rollicking piano, tubas, slide whistles). There’s a long passage where Keaton runs desperately to escape an avalanche of boulders, and only occasionally did I find myself pausing to wonder what kind of music would have accompanied it; instead, it evoked (intriguing how “invoked” seems completely right in spite of being completely wrong in this context) the low slow rumble of rocks, upping the sense of danger and awe in a scene that plays, maybe even moreso in silence, as comedy.

Friday, August 18, 2006

I went sailing for the first time last weekend in Connecticut, where you can rent a 14-foot boat for $26/hour without being asked any questions like “How are you with a jib? Do you know what a jib is? Have you ever been on a sailboat?” Turns out it is in fact exceedingly difficult to banish Christopher Cross from your mind while doing the ethereal geometry one does on water waiting for breath from the weather. Turns out docksiders assert their worth more demonstrably with a soak of saltwater in their soles. Turns out sailing ranks among the better ways I’ve yet found to spend an afternoon.

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