Sunday, December 27, 2009

Other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, how did you like the play?

The Italians have a word...fiasco!

This evening I saw the movie NINE, it was as close to a crucifixion as I ever hope to get.

  Daniel Day-Lewis' singing could only have been improved by a reprise of his Christy Brown role.  Judy Dench rasping through "Follies Bergeres" chilled me like someone walking over my grave, "My Husband Makes Movies" instead of being evocative was merely a cartoonish retrospective exercise.

Rather than being about love and passion and moviemaking and heartache and the beauty that is women, this was a hideous burlesque of automatons, croaking, and clanking from one over-produced scene to the next

In the sparse audience I only saw three people who were engrossed, one by his blackberry screen, and the two young men in the very end of my row, pleasantly chatting between less-than-furtive hand jobs.  At least someone was having a good time, God knows I wasn't.

My first exposure to Nine was the 1982 original cast album, 

which I discovered at about the same time a production of Nine was being mounted in Grand Rapids Michigan in 1986 (I think) I was newly single (like now) and was swept away with the beautiful music and equally beautiful women in that local cast.  The play in Grand Rapids, the album, and certainly Fellini's "8 1/2" had a great influence on me at that time.  

Tonight I went to the latest incarnation hoping to catch some of the magic and romance again.  But it was not to be, no sir, not by a longshot.

If you love earlier versions of this transporting show, then please,
"per favore" avoid this dreadful barn dance  at all costs.

I had to leave early before any more damage could be done.

Somewhere, up there, Raul Julia is laughing his ass off, as Guido, God bless him, and Anita Morris is wiggling hers, as the actually sexy version of Carla

Anita Morris as Carla in the 1982 production

At evening's end it was a squandered opportunity, a misfortune, and a complete waste of nine and a half bucks.  Don't say I didn't warn you.


Friday, September 25, 2009

The three season studio

This was my garden shed; an underutilized, ignored, and unloved little building at the back of my yard.

The interior was merely studs, held together by a composition of spiderwebs and stinkbug carcasses. It was dirty, grimy, and generally an unpleasant place to visit

I had always wanted to create an semi-outdoor space which would provide a refuge, a delightful respite from the world, a secret hide-out, and this shed became the likely candidate.

The first step was to sweep it out to see what I was dealing with.

Next came the construction (on the cheap) which included running electricity to the shed, putting in walls, ceiling, wainscoting, framing and installing a third window, shelves, track lighting, and carpet.

The result is very satisfying:

Behold the three-season studio. A place where drawings are made, reading is done, toy soldiers cavort, and the stars appear to shine in; unimpeded by pedestrian considerations like ceilings.

On the counter, Confederates ravage the countryside.

On the walls, Frederick Ray illustrations which I purchased as a nine-year old finally get a frame and their due.

The skull collection sits in repose against a frosted window.

My drawing board and table (made with mahogany scraps left by the guy we bought the house from) wait for an inked pen.

Three windows and track lighting make for a very light, airy, and happy space (not to mention the starlight!).

A very recent addition includes these matched cast-iron cannons, standing sentinel at the door, a gift from the neighbors (another Navy veteran, come to find out).

That chair, never a good fit in the house, seems made to order out here. This is where I do most of my reading for class.

Enjoying my secret hideout, while burning the midnight oil, north of Boonsboro.


Thursday, September 24, 2009

Like Rip Van Winkle

[a sculpture I made 20 years ago]

I think I feel like Rip Van Winkle did upon waking from his 40 year slumber in the forest. Like Rip, I feel like I've been gone for awhile, it's a little discombobulating.

Unlike Rip I don't have moss in my hair, birds in my beard, and a moldy hat.

No toadstools growing out of my rifle stock (no rifle for that matter)...

nor vines sprouting around me.

Its good to have patient friends waiting for you when you return from a very long, very fitful sleep.

I think I'd like to stay up for awhile.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009