Wednesday, April 18, 2007

The Islanders? Really?

I'm gonna step away from film for a moment and probably for the next week or two. I'll be in crazy pre-packing mode before the big move. And my mind will be mostly on that. Beyond that, last night I watched Antonioni's Blow-Up and it was the least impressive Antonioni I've seen yet, so I don't have much to say about it. And, before that, I watched Domino and really liked it. And against all odds I have been preching the virtues of Tony Scott as a director to friends. But it will take a while before I find myselfactually sitting down and putting to paper why I suddenly find myself to be a fan of Tony Scott.

So in the meantime, it's your once-a-year hockey post. Though maybe there will be more after the move. See in Indy, it's nearly impossible to follow the NHL. Bring into that as well, the team of my youth, the Philadelphia Flyers were just abysmal this year. But, when I was out in Norwalk, interviewing I was able to get the New York sportstalk stations on the radio. And it happened to be at a time when the Islanders and Rangers were in a home-and-home series. At this time I decided if I move out there, I'd become an Islanders fan, or at least follow them.

It's the same way that I followed the Pacers out here. I am not going to trash the hometown team just to be different from the locals (Dallas Cowboys, New York Mets, DC United, and Mexican National Soccer Team excluded). I wish good things for them and the town. And yes, I realize New York is not in Connecticut. BUT, Norwalk does border Long Island Sound. And Long Island sound = Islanders? Well maybe not, but thats the rational I used.

So lucky for me, the Islanders make the playoffs. And there first round matchup just happens to be against the best team in the league, the Buffalo Sabres. Conviniently enough, I hate the Sabres already! Game 4 is tonight, and I'll be watching it on tape delay. I've caught the last two games of the series and already find myself really having a strong affinity for the Islanders. I was euphoric when they won game 2 to even the series and I was PISSED when a call went against the Islanders at the end of Game 3, right after the refs missed a tripping and holding call that would've given the Islanders a power play (granted it's been an abysmal power play) in the final 2 minutes. If I was in the crowd I would've thrown shit on the ice as well!

The main thing is that I am remembering how damn fun hockey is to watch, and playoff hockey especially. I am thrilled to be going to an area of the country where there is professional hockey again. I am pulling like crazy for the Islanders to win this series so they will still be in the playoffs when I make it out there. I won't have cable the first several months in town as a financial decision, but I would hopefully find a place nearby to watch them. My new hometown* team. And hell, if they fall out of the playoffs, first, please resign Ryan Smith Islanders. The kid can play. Second, maybe then Icegirl Meredith will have a few more days off and we can meet up somewhere.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Miami Vice

Two weekends ago I watched Miami Vice. I don't know what I expected going into the film. I just wanted a break from films with subtitles maybe and a way to be entertained on a saturday night without thinking too much. But the film did make me think a lot. So much so, that two days later I sent this email to a friend of mine...

I have been thinking a lot about Miami Vice the past two days. I must
be crazy...

I know I am in the far far minority on this film but I just loved it.

The dialogue was minimal yes. It was choppy yes. But the film was about two guys attempting to stay human in the face of a high pressure job in which they see only the horrible side and despicable side of human nature. They need to be serious the entire time and be completely focused the entire time. It was because of how effectively Colin farrell and Jamie Foxx wore those masks that made the love
scenes and stories come to the forefront in the second half of the movie.

Beyond that Mann uses the architecture and setting of Miami as a wonderful and perfect dark and brilliantly alive backdrop to the whole film. When Foxx and Farrell are on that rooftop in the first 30 minutes of the film after Antonio calls in distress, it looks as if they are on the very edge of teh world, and they may as well be. In the end the use of architecture and setting as backdrop for the themes of the film made me think that the film was somewhere along the lines of a Michaelangelo Antonioni (L'Avennturra) film on crack.

I absolutely loved it.

Granted, the Antonioni on crack comment was a very lazy way to try to describe the film. She said that after reading the first line of the email, she laughed out loud. And maybe it's because I had just recently watched Antonioni's L'eclisse, and still digesting it that I was seeing themes similar to that film in Mann's Miami Vice.

I started looking around on the internet for reviews and to see if anyone else actually liked this movie as much as me. I found many lukewarm reviews. But, over at Criterion Forum there was an 11 page thread with people actively and for the most part, intellegently discussing the film. And then, I was blown away by this fantastic essay on the film at Senses of Cinema. One money quote from there...

Miami Vice is above all a great film on the human condition in a time of flux. Everything progresses at top speed (the meetings, the love affairs, the reversals, the cars) but essentially nothing really moves forward. The general rumour of flux absorbs every modification of this flux, and dismisses events and characters with a noise from deep bottom. A trail of blood on the roadway (the suicide of the snitch, Alonzo (John Hawkes)), an echo on a radar or the noise of fingers snapping, are but nothing more than a short-lived imbalance of the global system. Whence the extraordinary and (paradoxical) inertia produced by a narrative so smitten with rapidity, as well as in the linking of sequences and shots, as in the execution of actions. The points of view become confused, the shots fall like unhooked links, but the general signal finishes by sweeping it along in the events that make it up. It traffics, it pulls, it circulates: Miami Vice is the point of flux against man’s point of view.

I don't know what I was searching for, when I scoured the net for likeminded admiration for Miami Vice. I've yet to figure out, honestly, if it was validation for my feelings of the film easily being one of the 5 best of last year in my mind. Or, maybe it was just hoping that the film somewhere got the recognition, that I am sure in my mind that it deserved.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Thank You, Rabo Karabekian.

I had an email from a friend earlier this am, letting me know that Kurt Vonnegut had died. Many others will write more eloquently on the subject, than me. I am just sorta speechless right now. Kurt Vonnegut has been one of my favorite authors since college. How it took me so long to get into him I will never know.

A friend, John Ownens, the one kid at my small Christian college who had a Joy Division and Bauhaus t-shirt lent me Breakfast of Champions. From then I was hooked. I mean in that book he showed me what an asshole looked like. I would have no idea if it wasn't for his illustration. And now I know.

After that I read Bluebeard and remember crying. I remember my senior quote in my college yearbook was attributed to Rabo Karabekian.

I remember reading Mother Night one extremely stormy afternoon in my apartment. I remember for some reason I had Massive Attack's Mezzanine cd playing. I remember I was certain the world was coming to an end, or at least my apartment was getting smaller.

When I moved to Indianapolis, I remember searching out Indianapolis streets and street corners from some of his books. Vonnegut lived in New York at the end of his life, but, I think there are few of those in Indy whom have read his books that don't in a way consider him ours. Not in a selfish sense, but just in a sense of civic pride. And moreso than that, probably gratitude.

I'm not an enormous fan of short stories. But I gobbled up short stories by Vonnegut and J.D Salanger. There is a short story by Vonnegut that to this day remains possibly my favorite short story ever. In my mix tape making days I remember very badly wanting to make a tape for a girl and label one side "through leaves" and the other side "over bridges." I still want to make that tape. I just need to find that girl. I hope she has a cassette player still. She will.

That story was A Long Walk To Forever. Take the time to read it if you haven't already. If you have read it before, read it again.

Thank you, Kurt Vonnegut.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Surprises, a move to Norwalk, CT.

So, first post here in thtee weeks. That is disciourging. But stuff has just been extremely busy recently and been full of surprises. The main surprise came a few weeks back when I got a call from an old friend who advised me to put in an application at a museum in Norwalk, CT. He mentioned that with my resume, I'd immediately be one of teh top candidates. So I took his advice. Next thing I knew, travel arrangements were being made for a trip out theer for an interview. Shortly afterwards, I recieved and offer. And now after much deliberation and thought, I will be moving to Norwalk, CT on April 30. It's rather crazy.

I was talking to a friend on the phone on Easter. She said, "Kristin told me you were moving to CT. I couldn't believe it. I said, Scot is the most Indianapolis person I know and he's not even from here." That was a strange thing to hear. But flattering at the same time. To friends in this city and friends outside of the city I have been a huge advocate or campaigner for Indianapolis. I love the city. I love the way of life that can be had living in this city. I am not more than 10 minutes from the center of downtown and have cheaper rent than should be legally allowed for the city. I am just 25 steps from my favorite bar ever. But most of all, I just have been really fortunate and really blessed to have met the people that I have met in Indianapolis. Through several different jobs, my church, and numerous connections of friend's friends I have been surrounded by a community that is really hard to leave behind.

At the end of the day however, it came down to the fact that I have an exciting opportunity to move ahead professionally in a way that just wasn't happening for me in Indianapolis. Beyond that, the friends that I have been blessed with here will not change. I know that I am still gonna be in contact with them, even if the dynamic does change a bit due to distance. If things fall completely apart in Norwalk I could always move back to Indianapolis and have very little fear of coming straight back into the community that I am leaving behind here.

So, Norwalk? Where the hell is it? What the hell is it. Norwalk, according to wikipedia, is the 6th largest city in Connecticut. According to the city slogan, it is "The Right Place, The Right Time." It is a "bedroom community" of New York City, just about 45-50 minutes outside the city. Virtually every resturaunt that I walked by was Zagat rated, so I imagine there are good eats to be had. Norwalk is bordered by Long Island Sound, so I will actually see water again. And beyond all that, it is just 2 1/2 hours away from the rest of my family in South Jersey which is also a plus.

Granted the cost of living is of course much higher out there than in Indianapolis. And given the quick nature of the move I will be living my first few months very much on a shoestring budget while attempting to pay back some loans I have taken from my parents for security deposit for the apartment and other moving costs. But once I get beyond that, I am very much excited to be so close to New York City and possibly spend a Sunday afternoon taking the train into catch a show at Film Forum or maybe even go to MOMA and see all 15 1/2 hours of Fassbinder's Berlin Alexanderplatz. These are opportunities that I am very excited about. And yes, I know that I will miss Fassbinder at the MOMA, but I also know that other events are sure to come that will be very exciting.

So it's into the last 3-4 weeks in Indianapolis, now. And I must say I am not looking forward to the goodbyes. It's all bittersweet, to be sure. There is excitement, sure, and nervousness as well. But all the same, I just hope to make the best of my last few weeks here, and with help from my friends I don't think that will be too hard of a problem.