Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The Dance

1) "Death and Love," by Edvard Munch (1894)

2) "Gaucho," Steely Dan, designed by Suzanne Walsh (1980)

3) "Blue Tango," by Jules Feiffer (2004)

Monday, March 29, 2010

Learn its language and speak it

1) From “Intuition,” by Feist (2007)

And in came a heatwave/
A merciful save/
You choose, you chose/
Poetry over prose

A map is more unreal
than where you've been
or how you feel.

2) From “70 Million” by Hold Your Horses! (2010)

And it hardly looked like a novel at all.
I hardly look like a hero at all.
And I’m sorry you didn’t publish this.
And you were white as snow. I was white as a sheet.

When you came down in this black dress.
In your mom’s black maternity dress.
And so,
though it hardly looked like a novel at all,
and the city treats me, it treats me to you,
and a cup of coffee for you.
I should learn its language and speak it to you.

3) From "Ever Greenberg," by Richard Brody, The Front Row (March 29, 2010)

"There are two ideal durations for a feature film: sixty-three minutes, which is an hour of setup and a brief tag of a wrap-up; and three hours, of which the first hour of setup is followed by two of working-out. The ninety-minute length (or its modern variety, the two-hour version, which includes more backstory) is constructed on the artifice of a plot mechanism that brings lots of plot threads together in an accelerating dénouement. It worked in an age of abstraction—an age when movies themselves, made largely on studio sets with the help of an unprecedented battery of theatrical paraphernalia, achieved an extraordinary simulation of specifics through remarkably artificial means. The stories that studios set in motion were equally abstract, relying on situations that had the built-in necessities of social conventions that themselves ran along more or less unchallenged. Classic Hollywood storytelling bought its efficiency at the price of all it excluded or filtered out, and its ingeniously constructed stories were less the cause of that exclusion than the effect of a society that was hardly inclusive.

"Romantic comedy has become boiled down to its essence: two people are thrown together and sometimes it’s funny."

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

All the ones who really love you

1) "When You Are Old," by William Butler Yeats (1893)

When you are old and gray and full of sleep,
And nodding by the fire, take down this book,
And slowly read, and dream of the soft look
Your eyes had once, and of their shadows deep;

How many loved your moments of glad grace,
And loved your beauty with love false or true,
But one man loved the pilgrim soul in you,
And loved the sorrows of your changing face;

And bending down beside the glowing bars,
Murmur, a little sadly, how Love fled
And paced upon the mountains overhead
And hid his face among a crowd of stars.

2) From “Young Bride,” by Midlake (2006)

My young bride,
Why are your shoulders like that
of a tired old woman?
Like a tired old woman?

My young bride,
why are your fingers like that
of the hedge in winter?
Of the hedge in winter?

Polonaise in winter
Snowshoes and hunters
Carry the goods in for you
Darkness and forest
Grant you the longest
Face made for porridge and stew

My young bride,
why aren't you moving at all,
helps to make the day seem shorter
helps to make the day seem shorter

My young bride,
Why aren't you keeping with you
all the ones who really love you,
all the ones who really love you.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

We can change the world, my love

1) From “Peace Like a River,” by Paul Simon (1972)

Peace like a river ran through the city
long past the midnight curfew.
We sat starry-eyed.
We were satisfied.
And I remember misinformation followed us like a plague.
Nobody knew from time to time
if the plans were changed.

You can beat us with wires.
You can beat us with chains.
You can run out your rules,
but you know you can't outrun the history train.
I seen a glorious day.

2) From “Neighborhood,” by David Byrne (2001)

The people feel so good.
Say boy, say girl.
All in my neighborhood.
Say boy, say girl.

We got peace, love and monkey business
Gonna reach the very top
There'll be pride, hope and Sunday mornings
All the things I'm thinking of.
We could change the world, my love.
In the night while we are sleeping
I was in my neighborhood.

Monday, March 22, 2010

But it's coming

1) From “Pirate Jenny,” sung by Nina Simone (1964)

You people can watch while I'm scrubbing these floors
And I'm scrubbin the floors while youre gawking
Maybe once ya tip me and it makes ya feel swell
In this crummy southern town
In this crummy old hotel
But you'll never guess to who youre talkin.
No. you couldn't ever guess to who youre talkin.

Then one night there's a scream in the night
And you'll wonder who could that have been
And you see me kinda grinnin while I'm scrubbin
And you say, "What's she got to grin?"
I'll tell you.

There's a ship
The black freighter
With a skull on its masthead
Will be coming in

2) From “Keep the Car Running,” by The Arcade Fire (2007)

There's a weight that's pressing down
Late at night you can hear the sound
Even the noise you make when you sleep
Can't swim across a river so deep
They know my name cause I told it to them
But they don't know where
and they don't know when
It's coming, when it's coming

There's a fear I keep so deep
Knew its name since before I could speak
They know my name cause I told it to them
But they don't know where and they don't know
When its coming, oh when but its coming

Keep the car running

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

In and of itself

1.a) Fade out to “Your Love is Like the Morning Sun,” by Al Green (1973)

Love is the morning sun
shining so brightly
it’s me that’s missing your love

I’m tired of being alone
I’m still in love with you
Let’s stay together

1.b) First six tracks of “Al Green’s Greatest Hits,” by Al Green (1975)

1. "Tired of Being Alone"
2. "Call Me (Come Back Home)"
3. "I'm Still in Love With You"
4. "Here I Am (Come and Take Me)"
5. "Love and Happiness"
6. "Let's Stay Together"

2.a) Third verse of “The Beast and Dragon, Adored,” by Spoon (2005)

Where did you get for so long
I been learning my scene
I been watching my friends move away
I summon my love back to me
And I went down by the seawall
That's when I knew, knew they never got you

2.b) Side B tracklisting of “Gimme Fiction,” by Spoon (2005)

7. "I Summon You"
8. "The Infinite Pet"
9. "Was It You?"
10. “They Never Got You"
11. "Merchants of Soul"

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

On dark invisible wings

1) From “The Blind Assassin” by Margaret Atwood (2000)

“Now she imagines him dreaming. She imagines him dreaming of her, as she is dreaming of him. Through a sky the colour of wet slate they fly toward each other on dark invisible wings, searching, searching, doubling back, drawn by hope and longing, baffled by fear. In their dreams they touch, they intertwine, it’s more like a collision, and that is the end of the flying. They fall to earth, fouled parachutes, botched and cindery angels, love streaming out behind them like torn silk. Enemy groundfire comes up to meet them.”

2) “Define dancing” from “WALL-E” (2008)

Friday, March 05, 2010

As if you had made your life

1) Final lines of “The Exile’s Return,” by Robert Lowell (1946)

…You will not see
Strutting children or meet
The peg-leg and reproachful chancellor
With a forget-me-not in his button-hole
When the unseasoned liberators roll
Into the Market Square, ground arms before
The Rathaus; but already lily-stands
Burgeon the risen Rhineland, and a rough
Cathedral lifts its eye. Pleasant enough,
Voi ch’entrate, and your life is in your hands.

2) Final paragraph of “The Happiest I’ve Been,” by John Updike (January 3, 1959)

“When we came into the tunnel country, the flicker and hollow amplification stirred Neil awake. He sat up, the mackinaw dropping to his lap, and lit a cigarette. A second after the scratch of his match the moment occurred of which each following moment was a slight diminution, as we made the long irregular descent toward Pittsburgh. There were many reasons for my feeling so happy. We were on our way. I had seen a dawn. This far, Neil could appreciate, I had brought us safely. Ahead, a girl waited who, if I asked, would marry me, but first there was a long trip; many hours and towns interceded between me and that encounter. There was the quality of the 10 a.m. sunlight as it existed in the air ahead of the windshield, filtered by the thin overcast, blessing irresponsibility — you felt you could slice forever through such a cool pure element — and springing, by implying how high these hills had become, a wide spreading pride: Pennsylvania, your state - as if you had made your life. And there was knowing that twice since midnight a person had trusted me enough to fall asleep beside me.”

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

The space to say whatever I like

1) From “The Blind Assassin” by Margaret Atwood (2000)

“The only way you can write the truth is to assume that what you set down will never be read. Not by any other person, and not even by yourself at some later date. Otherwise you begin excusing yourself. You must see the writing as emerging like a long scroll of ink from the index finger of your right hand; you must see your left hand erasing it.”

2) From “Change Clothes” by Jay-Z (2003)

I ain’t a New Jack
nobody gon Wesley Snipe me
It’s less than likely,
move back
Let I breathe
Jedi knight
The more space I get the better I write
Oh, never I write,
but, if,
ever I write
I need the space to say whatever I like.
Now just change clothes, then go.