Here are some of the many interesting pieces of e-mail I’ve received in recent weeks:
of modernist impact on the little heartland town? Maybe there is
something purposeful in the lack of appreciation for most of the high
art of the twentieth century. Modernism has little to say to the folks
who, like me, choose to live in the great dead heart of America. We
are not politically or artistically correct. You came (apparently) from small-town roots and were always drawn to
high culture. Nothing wrong with that but it is not the only world.
You went to NY and are our representative to that town I refer to as
“east of the Hudson.” Your sensibilities are more complex than most of
the folks whose voices are important on that $24-dollar hunk of rock.
But there are only a few of us out here who care much at all about what
is current in NYC. Manhattan is very, very inbred, by our standards
and while we read the NYT and the WSJ, both of which are now delivered
every morning to our mailboxes. But our daily lives are not very much
screen but are still bigger than a filmstrip screen in a classroom. It
was part of the Student Union’s film series (which was shown in
University Hall — logic? at my university? riiiiight). Most of the time
they showed current or near-current films (Wayne’s World, The Freshman)
but one quarter they did old movies. I loved Casablanca deeply. After years of oppressive jokes by the Baby
Boomers about films I’d never seen but was still supposed to worship, I
honestly was sure it must suck. Instead it felt so fresh and nasty and
cynical and romantic that it might have been written just yesterday,
for me. I bought my mom the DVD for Christmas, but really, I wanted it for
myself. (But I gave myself Firefly and a great deal of anime, so don’t
feel too sorry….) I do plan to convert my cousins. Soon.
as a part of its campus film series. (It screened on Valentine’s Day,
appropriately enough, and caused great distress among my group of
girlfriends, as we had neither Ricks nor Victors in our lives that year.)
The film program typically showed more recent films, but periodically it
would screen classics, and those screenings were a wonderful opportunity to
see these films the way they were meant to be seen.
his subject what one sees from the window of an airplane.” And I refer you to this.
regional orchestras. I live in Portland, OR, home of the Oregon
Symphony, one of the orchestras mentioned in your piece. Portland is
also home to the Portland Art Museum, a passable regional museum with a
decent permanent collection and plenty of traveling shows. I think that the experience of seeing classical music performed live is
quite different than that of listening to a CD. I can buy books with
many great paintings from Amazon.com as well, but is that the same as
seeing the original? I can watch ballet on TV– same thing.
Experiencing even a mediocre performance of an old standard is
something that still captures me, but maybe that’s my small town roots.
The symphony also gives us rubes the opportunity to see a variety of
soloists we would not otherwise see, many world-class. In New York, you have an abundance of culture. Portland is really not
bad given it’s size, but losing the symphony would be a blow.
Furthermore, there is considerable synergy between various arts
organizations. For instance, the principal percussionist for the Oregon
Symphony is also the music director for the Portland Opera (or is it
the ballet? I forget, but you get the point).
Lew Archer novels; it puzzles me why you don’t share that enthusiasm (as I
recall from your review of a Ross MacDonald biography a couple of years
back). Like the Archer stories, TWILIGHT transmutes the smartass patter of
Philip Marlowe and Sam Spade into a more realistic look at an aging
outsider. And also like them, TWILIGHT’s murderer, when uncovered, seems
sadly inevitable, a convincing portrait of tragic choices made – rather than
the Sidney Greenstreet/Peter Lorre monsters of more black-and-white private
eye adventures (not that I don’t also love THE MALTESE FALCON, understand,
but this is more interestingly complex in some ways).
up on TV” but they actually have aired on Turner Classic Movies and fairly
frequently over the past couple of years. I’m a freelance
writer/researcher for TCM (in fact I wrote the Boetticher obit on the
website, along with a bunch of other stuff such as DVD reviews) and have
done work on these. I think TCM may have even shown the entire cycle but
could be wrong about that because I don’t remember Decision at Sundown, a
particular favorite because it’s so disillusioned (even ending with a
cowboy riding off into the sunset though in probably the least heroic
if you lowered your standards a bit. Take a look at this.
data point about the issue of subway noise. I just saw a classical concert
there (Pierre-Laurent Aimard playing Messaien’s Vingt Regards; fantastic
performance, incidentally). I found the subway to be audible, but not
particularly obtrusive, especially because as the concert went on and I got
used to it going by. I should mention that this was only during relatively
quiet sections; during louder passages (of which there were quite a few),
the subway noise was pretty much masked by the music.
Steal at will! And thanks to you all for writing.