Sunday, June 17, 2007

Oh, the Things I've Forgotten I Own

Since I was a T.A. and lived at home, I finally had some disposable income these past two years. I bought a shit load of music, books, and a few DVDs. I'm sketchy on DVD ownership because of how little I watch movies I already own and because so few DVDs are worth owning. Frankly, I'm starting to think that only collections like Criterion are worth perusing - and those movies merit numerous close watches anyway.

So I cleaned my room yesterday and reacquainted myself with some books I bought and subsequently forgot. A rundown:

1) Federico Fellini: His Life and Work by Tullio Kezich

I bought this with a writing project in mind, and I'm fairly certain I'll start this project as soon as I finish On Holidays. First off, the cover has one of my very favorite pictures of Fellini. I think it's from the 8 1/2 shoot, from the scene in which Marcello Mastroanni's character visits his harem (comprised of every woman he's ever known) and breaks out a whip, cracking it to get them in line. One of the most misogynistic scenes ever put on film? Tame by Eli Roth-ian douche baggery standards (I saw that guy on Conan earlier this week. Christ what a douche bag.). And, the scene is in keeping with what a bastard this character is, anyway. The photograph on the book, lest I lose my train of thought, is Fellini himself cracking that same whip.

Anyway, there's a lot in this book that I can't wait to get to, and what I've read I want to read again. Kezich was a great friend of Fellini's and so had insight that any other cineaste would die for. He culls Fellini's life, the things Fellini saw, and illustrates how Fellini incorporated them into his own work. Something I'm considering for my next writing project is that Fellini got started as a cartoonist. I'd like to track down some of his work. Anyway, I hope if I finish this fucking book, I'll stop having Satyricon-flavored nightmares.

Moon Metro Guide to Chicago

I thought this would be a great street-level guide and would be instructive for my story that takes place in Chicago. No. When I got this book, I also got street maps of St. Louis and Chicago. St. Louis' hangs creepily, like the big board in a stalker's war room, in my basement. Chicago's is MIA.

Roget's Thesaurus

Is it cheating to use this? How about memorizing words from this? How abstemious. I'm fairly certain that should make no sense.

Collections of Tin House, The Believer, The Paris Review, misc. others

I need to read these again for the first time.

Also, CDs

Every year, I buy more CDs than I did the last. It's usually an even split between older CDs (pre-2002, say) and newer ones, with most of the new falling into the that-year-I-buy them variety. There are always a few that escape my notice, which is why I'd probably be an awful critic. So I've gone over my recent buys and have been pleasantly surprised by some of those I've revisited. This is with the caveat that I just bought Something/Anything? by Todd Rundgren and a compendium of Tim Buckley. Why? Because the former looks like a cross between Nico, heroin, and Evel Knievel and the latter sounds like the blond British kid who led the revolution in South Park.

Wolves by My Latest Novel

From the same land as critically acclaimed The Twilight Sad, these Scots were perhaps lost in the critical acclaim of said band. They have similar subject matter - teen angst. My Latest Novel is a bit more on the twee side, but are not what I would call precious. Some of the songs, like some of Twilight Sad's, are plodding and, frankly, uninteresting, but there are a number of tracks worth checking out. Wolves gets off to a pretty slow start, but it quickly picks up with "Pretty in a Panic," which is replete with lilting strings and a simple but infectious beat. "The Job Mr. Kurtz Done" - well, I won't say this is a complete rip-off of "If You're Feeling Sinister" by Belle and Sebastian, even though it starts off with a very similar chord progression and ambient noise (unidentifiable vs. B&S's sounds of children playing... which still gets me right here). It's a lovely song, even if it's not particularly original. The bombastic "When We Were Wolves" features a great stomp of a rhythm and its lyrics and chorus "la la las" serve it well. It's a solid but not great album.

The Besnard Lakes Are the Dark Horse

I'm of two minds about this one. It's got some lush orchestration and what not but can easily lapse into boring passages. I can't really recommend this one. The opener "Disaster" is a highlight, but there's just too much sludge around it.

Friend and Foe by Menomena

Fantastic. Jaunty chamber rock. Like the Animal Collective, the ambiance created by the actual music is just as instrumental to their sound as the music itself. That doesn't make any fucking sense, does it? At any rate, Menomena does not front-load this one. Some of the final tracks - Boyscout'n, Evil Bee, and West are just as powerful as Muscle'n Flo and Sky Phenomenon.


Anonymous Kelly said...

Saw this article and thought you'd be interested in it (sorry, I don't have your email address):

With shops such as Tiffany & Co. and The Coach Store under one roof, it's easy to accessorize in style while shopping at Plaza Frontenac. But even if your favorite "accessories" are a box of jujubes and Diet Coke, this upscale mall has got your ticket next week when the Jewish Film Festival moves in.

The curtain opens Sunday with the legal drama Steel Toes, which focuses on the charged relationship between a Jewish attorney and his neo-Nazi client, who's been accused of a racially motivated murder. There will be two showings of the thought-provoking film, with the opening preview party (featuring an international buffet dinner) deliciously sandwiched in between.

The festival continues through next Thursday with three showings a day. The selections touch on everything from interfaith marriage to a survey of Jewish music. We're looking forward to seeing stars Willem Dafoe and Haley Joel Osment in Edges of the Lord, about a Jewish boy who finds refuge with a Catholic family in 1943 Poland, and Joan Allen narrating the concluding film, The Rape of Europa, about the how European artwork managed to survive the Nazi regime.

What: Jewish Film Festival
When: Sun., June 24 opening preview party - The film will be shown at 4:15 and 7:45 p.m. with the party in between; Mon., June 25 to Thu., June 28 - various times
Where: Landmark Plaza Frontenac Cinema in the Plaza Frontenac Shopping Center
Cost: Opening preview party plus film: $95, which also includes a ticket to an additional film of your choice ($15 for the opening film without attending the party). All others movies are $10 in advance and $11 after June 23.
Info: 314.432.5700 or

6/20/2007 10:04 AM  
Anonymous Kelly said...

P.S. I have that Jewish holiday cookbook for you. I won't be at the winery on Friday, but I'll bring it to campus tomorrow. I'll be in Peck 3310 all this week and next from 9-3:30. Stop by sometime if you want it. :-)

6/20/2007 10:05 AM  

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