Saturday, October 23, 2010
Wheeler actually moved to London, England in 1952 to study with Bennett. Working in England, proved beneficial to his career, which was significant because most jazz musicians went to New York to play be-bop. Wheeler continued to play in British dance bands earning him a chair in the trumpet section of the John Dankworth Orchestra. Dankworth, who later became the leader in mainstream jazz out of England, inspired Wheeler to compose for his orchestra. The result was Windmill Tilter: The Story of Don Quixote, a suite written for large orchestra and small group. After its first release on the Fontana label, it was forgotten for many years, until now.
Friday, October 22, 2010
Rather than simply provide a random collection of songs, Springsteen and his E Street Band crafted a work that took the early aspirations of rock & roll (which they celebrated on Born to Run) and uncovered the possible consequences of acting on those aspirations. As a result, songs like “Racing in the Streets,” which took Martha Reeves & the Vandellas’ infectiously hopeful call of “Dancing in the Streets” and The Beach Boys’ pining reassurances of “Don’t Worry, Baby,” and revealed the grim realism beneath the hope. Sometimes a memorable and exciting rock hook, like the guitar intro from The Yardbirds’ “Heart Full of Soul,” would be used to slice the voyeuristic lust of “Candy’s Room” in half. In songs like “Badlands,” “The Promised Land” and “Prove it all Night,” Springsteen stripped pop drama down to the basic task of one man’s desire to speak of only what feels true to him; to bring adolescent dreams into adult realities.
Thursday, October 21, 2010
It’s a sad irony that Taiwanese filmmaker Edward Yang died of prostate cancer, at the young age of 59, just when his final film, Yi Yi, was garnering him the best reviews of his career, not to mention his first American distribution deal and the Best Director award at the 2000 Cannes film festival. The death of Yang is really one of the most devastating losses to hit the film world, as there’s no question that he would have gone on to make many more significant features. Unfortunately, curious movie buffs won’t be able to find any of Yang’s other six films on DVD in North America, which is a real shame as his contemporary urban dramas Taipei Story (1985) and The Terrorizers (1986) are first-rate and his four hour opus A Brighter Summer Day (1991), a meticulous period piece that recreated a scandalous murder from his youth, is magnificent. But at least, Yang’s last feature is available for their enjoyment and illumination.
Wednesday, October 20, 2010
Tuesday, October 19, 2010
Monday, October 18, 2010
Sunday, October 17, 2010
Grant Goodbrand's Therafields: The Rise and Fall of Lea Hindley-Smith’s Psychoanalytic Commune (ECW Press, 2010), the story of one of the largest and influential therapeutic communes during the sixties and seventies, is an absorbing, insightful and contemplative study of the failure of good intentions. Therafields, an experimental psychotherapeutic collective was formed by British-born lay therapist, Lea Hindley-Smith, in the mid-sixties. The commune was part of that period’s utopian spirit to create an alternate society which, by the end of the '70s, came apart in division, death and suicide. “The experiment had ended in tragedies and bitter animosity, traumatically turning friend against friend in ruptures that never healed,” Goodbrand writes. Therafields might have been sparked by an egalitarian impulse, but it was one that was undone by false expectations, fantasies, idolatry and promises that couldn’t be kept. In Therafields, though, Grant Goodbrand keeps his own promise by trying to heal the breach in that history.