Wednesday, September 01, 2004


More unpacking

okay, C4P needs work, and that's my major work for today, have to hash through what I've got and then wrap it up, then it's practice, practice, practice to get all the eye-rolls and other physical elements firmly into place--I'm hoping to have something workable by this evening, but will be banging away at it in the meantime. I'll post the exciting conclusion, and thoughts on the experience, as they evolve. In the meantime, it has been busy hellabusy the last couple of days on the ground, which is why I've missed my first day.

Tuesday had beer with Fon and discussed some of these developments, developments that will probably see me moving away from Munich in the near future--anywhere from August to March of next year, depending on how some projects pan out...then Wednesday was full on, beginning with English tutoring with Sophia, who has gotten over the novelty of studying with me, and now needs a bit more encouragement...then jet off to a tutoring agency I worked for until this past February to return teaching materials and interview the head of the company for a freelance article I'm working on...mostly promo material, thus not where my heart lies, but good practice nonetheless and possible line into some paid writing work--possibly not. We will see. After that, jet back to my neighborhood (did I mention that in between appointments my mode of transport is the trusty bike? Munich, BTW, is bike's friendly enough for them (flat, for the most part, temperate winds, very good system of bike paths and culturally prevalent enough to make drivers respectful of their presence--as a pedestrian you MUST look both ways before crossing a bike path--it's a whole sub-traffic system) that the local police force, apparently at enough of a loss as to what else to do, regularly do issue tickets to bike 'drivers' for traffic violations--this includes driving down the wrong side of the street, driving without lights at night, and driving drunk. On a typical day I bike at least 18 kilometers, Wednesday was at least 30...) to pick my daughter up from school, then train into town for a second interview, this time with jazz musician/soprano saxophonist Chuck Henderson. The two interviews together were enlightening in themselves--though I have written several interviews for Triplopia, most are conducted via the net, usuall through e-mail exchange, with only one having been conducted face-to-face. Quite a different animal, and the two on Wednesday were worlds apart. The first was with a businesswoman, so it was all centered around the efficient exchange of pertinent information, and any deviation was likely to be met with some impatience on her part--45 minutes, in and out. The second, with Chuck, was precisely the opposite, with Chuck searching through media clippings, playing unproduced material from his many recordings made at home (some 40 sitting around that he needs a producer for...) and viewing videos of live performances. 2 1/2 hours, with my daughter very patiently waiting through the whole, in spite of it's being crashingly boring for her. Thing is, it wasn't until the last 15 minutes of this time that we really started to connect in our exchange, and it was almost as if he was seeing if I had time for him--and it was difficult, because my knowledge of music is about zero (I sometimes get up and sing an easy melody along the lines of 'House of the Rising Sun' or Leonard Cohen--very limited range and probably not good in that range I do have...which is pitiful. And NO ability on any instrument...with the possible exception of my hands banging away on my thighs.) and my knowledge of jazz musicians in particular is pretty much limited to the giants...with a particular love for the music of Miles Davis. So our common ground was limited...however, the last video he showed me was this grand concert, in Istanbul, in which Chuck is doing his thing on the sax--and there is one drummer, in particular, whose whole body is going into his work. At some point, the drummer just has it with the exchange, and ends up right in Chuck's face, they are face to face, trading phrases, and watching it, as I expressed to Chuck, 'It's clear that the two of you were no longer in that room at all.' --At which point the interview started to click, and me with a daughter begging to go and only about 10 minutes worth of cassette tape left in my recorder. All in all, between the two, a significant lesson in range regarding how an interviewer approaches the subject.

That made it 4:30, at which point my daughter and I again hit the trains so we could get to my wife's workplace, where my wife took over parenting duties and I met with a sizeable group of scientists to go to a local double feature of Vol.s 1 & 2 of Kill Bill (like you NEED that link). Now, without getting into too many specifics, let me just say that I am a fairly big Tarantino fan. My wife, who is more given to James Bond thinks this a bit out of keeping with my generally pacifistic stance on things, but, again, without going too far into the nuances of an argument I have had many times in my home, the difference, for me, between Tarantino and standard Hollywood violence is that Tarantino's violence isn't anesthetic--there are real consequences to the violence, and it is placed in a human context. Don't get me wrong, there are times when I think Tarantino's work failed (I'd put Jackie Brown in that category...) but in general, I think he hits the mark. And Wednesday's viewing of Kill Bill pretty much confirmed me in that faith. I did go into it having already seen Vol. 1, and I'm kinda pissed that he, or Miramax, or whoever, made the decision to split this movie in two (I think it would have been more courageous to give it to us in one go, though he does a passable job in packaging it as two...) in a time when audiences have shown their ability to sit still for longer movies like the Lord of the Rings trilogy. And I enjoyed the movie. What I like about Tarantino is that he is one of the few directors who make me feel genuinely excited when I enter the cinema--that's a rarity. It's not just a movie, it's a Tarantino movie. That feeling of excitement is one worth feeling, because too often, going in to see a movie is just another night out, a diversion from life for a couple of hours. When a movie makes you feel like you're actually engaging life, rather than simply escaping it for a time, I'm appreciative.

All that said, by virtue of a quick, on the spot poll conducted by myself, with a sample size of the 8 people I saw the film with, it doesn't beat Pulp Fiction as Tarantino's masterwork. I kinda left the whole thing thinking I'd just seen Tarantino's 'Barry Lyndon'...a gorgeous film by a director that thinks in terms of the big big screen and has attempted to paint, on that screen, an epic...much that is beautiful, visually, but lacking a certain emotional punch that characterizes a lot of his other work.

That said, it beats hell out of what a LOT of other directors are doing on even bigger budgets.

So, informal film review aside...anyway, the days have been mad, and will be mad for some time to come...and all this is just a way for me to get anyone who cares caught up on the real-time workings of your,


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