Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Why I'm more Pro-Black Dahlia today than I was yesterday

O.K., enough already. First of all, I'm sick of hearing it everywhere - onstage last night, while listening to music; on the phone; in the subway; standing on line at the supermarket.

THE BLACK DAHLIA is an awful movie (enter primordial scream of countless accusations - bad script, bad acting, bad, bad, bad! BAD!)

And so it goes. I'm sure everyone has heard this litany of criticism echoing on down the line. People, I ask, what do ya like?! What have you been brainwashed into accepting as 'good film-making'? Sentimental Indy garbage with an earnest story and actors trying desperately hard. Hey look at me act. Hollywoodland is an example of earnest talent at work. Look at them act, look at them make a movie, look at them try and fashion a meaningful story from a film noir script. Look at them try and copy CHINATOWN and fail.

DePalma is fearless, and always has been - that's why any of his films will kick most film's ass any day of the week. Then bust it's head open and splatter its brains on the sidewalk, while following its double as it walks away in a crane shot that swoops up and locates us in the vast wasteland of the Angelika Film Center.

His pretty pop candy, drenched in brainsplattered pools of fake blood and outrageous performances is so damn dead-on American we can't bare to watch it. The same way some of us can't stand the work of Andy Warhol. We don't want to admit that we are what we are, a population whose surface shines with all that is meant to be inside. We live to be looked at, more now than ever before. And DePalma's films begged to be looked at. They shimmer with visual beauty and stunning cinematography.

The title link will take you to an A.O. Scott primer on this DePalma split we've got going on around here. I can't say anything better than it's said here (though I'm sure you'll notice he never references his own opinion, which I gather is the opposite). Read it and weep.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Lost and Found

Last night I went to Montclair, New Jersey to see this piece of theater - so damn good and I highly recommend it to everyone. Not difficult to get out there at all, especially with the bus. So no excuses. The Bierce story on which it is based is a masterwork of simplicity and Jamesian spookiness, capturing a specific 'America'. The piece (a staged chamber opera) does the story proud, by mirroring its sensibility along with its sense.

My friend Laurie designed the projections (her theater company creates a deeply layered look using scrims, projected images and film).


Thursday September 14- 8PM
Saturday September 16-7:30PM
Sunday September 17-3PM

Kasser Theater Montclair State Univeristy Montclair NJ

All seats $35
OR contact MSU Box Office (212) 655-5112

Complimentary Round trip Bus Service
with ticket purchase from Maritine Hotel
9th Avenue between 16th & 17th Street

Composed By David Lang, Written By Mac Wellman, Directed by Bob McGrath
Set Design: Jim Findlay, Film: Bill Morrison, Projections: Laurie Olinder
Costumes: Ruth Pongstaphone, Lighting: Matt Frey