Thursday, January 18, 2007

The Arts Meme

I was tagged by konagod and its pre-dawn here. I've done one of those things where I wake up a little after four, try unsuccessfully to go back to sleep and realize that the critters will be stirring soon and they really don't care whether or not I've gotten a good night's sleep. They're hungry. So, I figure I might as well pass the time with this.

Name a book that you want to share so much that you keep giving away copies:

I give books away all the time. Every new edition of Harry Potter gets pre-ordered and given to my kids, my nieces and nephews. I ran a contest here on the blog to give away a copy of Cormac McCarthy's The Road, and I ended up giving away two of them. There are books that will strike my fancy and I will give one away to somebody that I think would like the book, but most importantly will talk or correspond with me about it. Probably the book that I've given away the most is Treasure Island. Every body I know that has a kid gets that one with instructions to read it aloud. I gave away about six copies of 1776 by McCullough.

Name a piece of music that changed the way you listen to music:

Every now and then I will hear something that's so new and different it just blows me away. The first time was back in the late sixties when I heard the very beginnings of reggae. Toots and the Maytals were taking stuff off of the American Top 40 and doing stuff with them that was incredible. Jimmy Cliff, Desmond Decker, Bob Marley and their approach to rythym and phrasing just blew me away. After that, Paul Simon's Graceland floored me. The melding of African and American pop was brilliant. His bass player floored me. When he added the guys from South America for Rythym of the Saints I thought to myself "That's fucking great, now every band I want to work with is going to need five drummers." Oh, yeah, I can't forget the Pogues either.

Name a film you can watch again and again without fatigue:

Lawrence of Arabia, Princess Bride, Casablanca, just about anything with the Marx Brothers, Shane, Dr. Strangelove, The Seven Samurai, Henry V (Branagh's version), Romeo and Juliet, Serenity (or any of the box set of Firefly)

Name a performer for whom you suspend all disbelief:

Helen Mirren

Name a work of art you'd like to live with:

Picasso's The Old Guitarist I like to live with it, but not enough to move to Chicago.

Name a work of fiction which has penetrated your real life:

The Bible.

Name a punch line that always makes you laugh:

From Monkey Business which takes place on a cruise ship. Groucho and Chico are leaning on the ship's rail looking out over the water. Groucho sees something in the water and says "Hey! Is that a U-Boat?" Chico says "It'sa no belong a me!"

go ahead and tag yourself if you'd like to join in on this one.

4 Comments:

Anonymous Bob said...

I done took your advice and tagged my own damned self.

Name a book that you want to share so much that you keep giving away copies:

1. Gun, With Occasional Music by Jonathan Lethem. The term tour de force is overused to the point of cliché, but I can think of no other way to describe this novel set in near-future Oakland. It marries pulp fiction and science fiction in a seamless blend. Don’t let your Karmic Level get too low…
2. Water Music by T C Boyle. His first novel, my first-edition copy of which suddenly reappeared in my hands six months ago. I find his fiction rather hit or miss, but to this day this remains one of my all time favorite comic novels. My battered first edition has been read by at least a dozen people – all of whom have loved it. I’ve long since lost track of how many paperbacks I’ve bought and given as gifts.

Name a piece of music that changed the way you listen to music:

My sophomore year in high school (1973) I listened to a rather typical diet of rock, pop, and metal – Sabbath, Zeppelin, Deep Purple, etc. My younger brother (in 7th grade at the time) was into jazz and I still remember the first time I heard him playing a scratchy copy of John Coltrane’s First Meditations for Quartet he had bought at a flea market for 25 cents. For the first few minutes I couldn’t even hear it as music – it was noise. By the 10 minute mark music was permanently changed for me – my God the things you could do if only you had the talent and the imagination. A fun post script to this is that my 15 year old son has become a serious guitarist and every Saturday afternoon I take him to a coffee house in an Episcopal Church where he sits in with a wonderful pianist/singer who is John Coltrane’s nephew. I met said nephew’s mother – Coltrane’s sister – one week when she was in town visiting. She’s a frail woman in a wheel chair and I had one of those moments of total brain melt-down – walked up to her and said “ “. Just went completely blank. I so wanted to tell her how much her brother’s music has meant to me; how it’s pulled me through the darkest periods of my; how much respect I have for him as a saxophonist and composer. Should I ever get another chance I vow to talk. Btw –I still love R&R – but Coltrane takes me to places I never dreamed existed.

Name a film you can watch again and again without fatigue:

Princess Bride, Casablanca, just about anything with the Marx Brothers and/or WC Fields, Dr. Strangelove, The Seven Samurai, and The Bad News Bears (original version only.)

Name a performer for whom you suspend all disbelief:

John Candy. He starred in some of the worst movies ever made and wasn’t really an actor – he was always John Candy. Yet to this day I will watch virtually any movie with him in it and find unrestrained joy in his every move.

Name a work of art you'd like to live with:

What could be better than to wake up every morning looking at the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel?

Name a work of fiction which has penetrated your real life:

The Bible. For better or worse you can’t escape its impact in the US of A.

Name a punch line that always makes you laugh:

From Never Give A Sucker An Even Break:
The Great Man (W. C. Fields): I didn't squawk about the steak, dear. I merely said I didn't see that old horse that used to be tethered outside here.
Waitress: You're as funny as a cry for help.

2:55 PM  
Blogger konagod said...

I have never appreciated Paul Simon as a solo artist until recently. In fact I always made fun of him. Then one night while high I accidentally selected Graceland from the Rhapsody service. For some reason I let it play, and now I have nothing but total respect and admiration for him.

Who says weed is bad for ya?

3:42 PM  
Blogger The Minstrel Boy said...

my favorite simon moment was when he was giving his acceptance speech for best album (there goes rhymin' simon) he said:

and above all i'd like to thank stevie wonder for not releasing songs in the key of life this year

simon's early stuff could be very good, almost sublime, but it also could be pretentiously self-conscious. that whole "oh, so young and full of pain" thing. as he matured, both as a human being and a musician (and his chops were always brutal) he became more self aware but far less serious about it. his latest stuff keeps getting better.

10:11 PM  
Anonymous shades of blue said...

a) book sharing
I always give books as gifts to kids in the hope that it will
instill a lifelong love of reading.
The two I give most often are:
The Great Kapok Tree-a child is never to young to learn enviromental awareness.
The Owl and The Pussycat-adventure on the high seas and a good romance.
What more can you ask for?

b) music
When I was ten my mom took me to the theatre to see Hello Dolly.
I felt pretty ho-hum til one Mr Louis Armstrong appeared onscreen.
"Mom! Who's that?"
After much pestering I received my first record album, Mack the Knife.
Through Louis I met Ella Fitzgerald and Duke Ellington. From there it was
a short hop to Billie Holiday and the list goes on.
Most recently Street Signs from Ozomatli.
Rhythym and horns and piano, oh my!

c) films
Some Like It Hot, Lord of the Rings Trilogy, Princess Mononoke,
To Have and Have Not, Fierce Creatures, Stage Beauty

d) performer
Dame Judi Dench

e) work of art
My daughter is an illustration major.
Her most recent works are 4 characters she's been writing about.
She included an art nouveau influence in the designs.
I'm hoping to get one of them for my birthday.

f) fiction
Negative impact-The Bible
Positive impact-Lord of the Rings/To Kill a Mockingbird

g) punch line
From Ruggles of Red Gap (1935)
It is Paris 1908. Egbert Floud has just suffered thru a makeover at the hands of his wife, Effie Floud and Ruggles the butler.
Effie: I think he looks very 'distingay'.
Egbert: Gay nuthin. I look like that bantam rooster I had before it was run over.
Effie: Before you came in you looked like that bantam rooster
you had after it was run over.

9:07 AM  

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