Tuesday, May 25, 2004

Atlanta Events
May 27-29. Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. 8 p.m. Prokofiev: Romeo and Juliet suite. Gubaidulina (1931-), Two Paths.
Possibly the first performance of Gubaidulina's works in Atlanta. Gubaidulina. The online program notes include audio snippets of Two Paths, although you will have to do some url hacking to get the links to work. In other words, use


and so forth until Gubai-8.mp3.

Love in the Time of Cholera, Gabriel García Márquez
This novel is a romance in both a literary and non-literary sense. While setting up sensually precise tableaus of life in aristocratic Colombia, Márquez also tells the story of Florentino Ariza, who begins a love affair with Fermina Daza, only to lose her to a wealthy doctor, Juvenal Urbino. Márquez senses that people often cling secretly to the fantasy of reattaining their first, great love. Thus Ariza's desire for Daza never dies and he rushes to court her when she is widowed in her seventies. Prior to this event, though, Florentino, Juvenal and Fermina change in all-too-human ways, not only physically aging but also growing into the pleasures of middle age while losing youth's illusions. I particularly enjoyed the way Márquez stains every character with irrational impulses and moral flaws, thus pulling them away from neat fictionality and closer to tragic reality.

Shrek 2 dir. Andrew Adamson, Kelly Asbury, Conrad Vernon
While not as enjoyable or as memorable as the first, Shrek 2 goes down easy. It also goes down quick thanks to the hurried pace that denies us the frivolous moments that made the original so endearing. The predictable references to other movies are funny, but the real-world references, particularly the Farbucks patrons who escape to another Farbucks across the street, have more bite. As a added treat, Puss-in-Boots (Antonio Banderas) joins Donkey as a sidekick with gags that will really hit home with cat owners.

Thursday, May 20, 2004

Has Barbara Ehrenreich Had Her Head Stuck in the Sand For the Last Two Decades?
Read this, then read this. (Thanks to Big Arm Woman for the first link.)

Thursday, May 13, 2004

Today in Atlanta: Lecture by Famous Japanese Cartoonist, Ms. Yutsuko Chusonji
Georgia State University Student Center, Speakers Auditorium (33 Gilmer Street, Atlanta, GA 30303) 7 pm (Doors open at 6 pm and light refreshments will be served). Sponsored by the Consulate General of Japan.
From the press release: In her lecture, using illustrations and cartoons, Ms. Chusonji will analyze Japan's current social conditions from politics and the economy to young people's culture, explaining what Americans think of Japan and the gap between their image of Japanese people and the reality; what Japanese people think of the United States; the way Japanese women of today think; and the position of manga culture.

On Sonia Gandhi Winning the Indian Election

I offer this poem

On a General Election by Hillaire Belloc (1870-1953)

The accursed power which stands on Privilege
(And goes with Women, and Champagne and Bridge)
Broke - and Democracy resumed her reign:
(Which goes with Bridge, and Women and Champagne).

Tuesday, May 11, 2004

English Passengers by Matthew Kneale | first chapter
Booker finalist, Whitbread Novel of the Year
This tragicomic romp through nineteenth-century colonialism involves a bungling smuggler-captain, a slightly insane preacher, a nasty racialist, and a Tasmanian half-caste. Much of my enjoyment came from the narration of each chapter by one of 25 characters, each with a plausibly distinct voice. Set aside the narration, though, and you still have well-rounded characters, an exceptionally clever plot, and an undergirding of impeccable historical research. This is one of the best books I have read in my lifetime.

Incidentally, I have recently a spate of historical novels with a similar theme - The True History of the Carey Gang (sympathetic Australian proletarian bank-robber narrating), Gould's Book of Fish (magical-realist Tasmanian prisoner-madman narrating), and Star of the Sea (rich and poor Irish escape the famine). English Passengers would be my first recommendation of the lot and Star of the Sea would be a close second. Carey Gang and Gould's would be a somewhat distant third and fourth respectively. I'm looking forward to Kunal Basu's third novel, which is about nineteenth-century race science, since it might complement English Passengers well.

Monday, May 03, 2004

Bent Frequency Presents: Lost Hysterical Man @ The Rialto Center For The Performing Arts At GSU on Monday, May 10, 8:30 Pm
From their press release
Lost Hysterical Man examines the influence of those crushed by the horrors of
the world in which they lived, captive to the perspective reflected in the
shards of their shattered minds. These are the voices of those on the
outside looking in, clinging to hope and wrestling with despair. Join us as
we explore the beauty and reason in the creations of those deemed degenerate
and unfit, featuring compositions by Giacinto Scelsi, Frederic Rzewski,
Percy Grainger, Robert Schumann, and Rezso Seress.
I'm not sure what Schumann and Grainger are doing in a new music group's program, but it's good to see Grainger getting performed in Atlanta. I can't think of any Rzewski being performed here in the last five years so it's good to see him in the program, too, although I'm not sure he was ever deemed degenerate. He does alas have Marxist sympathies but I enjoy his overtly political works unlike Brecht whom I would rather see forgotten. Rzewski is a virtuoso pianist so expect some pianistic fireworks regardless.

This is BF's last concert of the season since I don't count their June 5th "daylong celebration of CREATION through the audience-participatory DESTRUCTION of a contact-mic-riddled car." According to their web site "the final product will be a 3+ hour spontaneous composition of creative collaboration between Atlanta's various, fragmented art/music/technology communities." Sounds more like artsy types who have never heard of a monster truck rally. And what's the word "fragmented" doing in there?