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Sunday, February 26, 2012

Coriolanus



One could argue that Coriolanus is about the uneasy alliance between democracy and military, about the fake purity of the civilian governance, or about election as pandering to "the people" who are not very smart. Yes, it is all those.

But, at the first turning point of Coriolanus' downfall, a suspicion began to float to the surface of my conscious thoughts. The Bard always drills the conflicts of the heart down to family; it seems that he is doing it again. Is it fundamentally a tragedy of parent-child relationship, like King Lear? It was the moment when Coriolanus, who is so clearly unwilling and unfit for campaigning for a civilian post, acquiesced under his mother Volumia's pleas, muttering something like, I'm paraphrasing, OK, OK, I'll do as you say, because I cannot bear your nagging any more.

At the second and final turning point of his downfall, when Fiennes buried his face in Redgrave's dress and wept, "Mother, mother, mother...", it seems clear that the point is clear to him, too. I did everything you wanted me to do, but you've never cared about who I am and what I want. Now you've ruined me and made me sign my death sentence. Is it finally enough? Are you happy now?

I am reminded of inarticulate men who seem to walking around with repressed rage and barely contained violence. Oddly, they often have very domineering mothers. Boys with difficulty expressing themselves are at a particular disadvantage, it seems. Or perhaps it is the other way around --- When the mother is domineering and unable/unwilling to acknowledge the child's needs, the child retreats further into obedience and repressed anger, because he is unable to articulate even to himself his needs that contradict with the mother's wish.


The tiny theater was completely full at the showing. (The screen was so small that it felt like watching a movie in someone's basement.) By the second half of the film, the room was so hot and stuffy that I was barely conscious. Oddly enough, by this time, Vanessa Redgrave's line reading sounded the worst. I could not understand half of what she was saying, and she was more incomprehensible than Gerard Butler's Scottish accent. In contrast, Fiennes' and Brian Cox's line readings were always effortlessly and impeccably crisp. I almost thought Redgrave may have early signs of Parkinson's disease, given the shakiness of her vocal delivery that recalls a late Katherine Hepburn.

There is some sort of homoerotic undercurrent between Coriolanus and Aufidius in the movie. The cinematography and editing seem to suggest that knifing someone is such an intimate way of killing, even more than strangling (not that I would know :P).

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Woohoo! DC Noir

Thanks to Arlington County Library, I can now borrow their e-books and download them onto my Kindle!

Found the short story collection, edited by George Pelecanos, in their catalog. Ha!

北欧彪悍女



电视上播这片儿,顺便看了两眼。女主角小时候不小心意外害死了亲娘,她爹暴跳如雷,打了她一耳光,从此对她不闻不问,只有仆人和一个音乐教师和她娘的鬼魂,陪她长大成个拉 cello 的野姑娘。被有钱的业主看见了爱上,要娶她,她不肯,她爹又给她一耳光。这段跟 Princess Montpelier 几乎完全一样,但是接下来女主的反应却完全两样。在 Princess Montpelier 中,法国女主被打之后暗暗抽泣,妈妈在一边温柔劝慰,最后委屈地嫁给了不爱的男人。在 I Am Dina 里,挪威女主狠狠地给她爹一拳,打得他飞起来,鼻血流了一脸。好像漫画书里的爆炸拳画块,"POW!!!"



这片儿本身很莫名,一堆英法北欧的演员混在一起,非常挪威的外景,十九世纪的服装,大家说着南腔北调的英文,总之非常不搭;叙述方法和情节又很现代派;最糟糕的是剪辑十分跳跃,好好一场戏给他剪得象疯子脑子里的图像。我看了一会儿就放弃了。不过气氛还是很有趣的。



黑灯瞎火地跟某同学出去露营,随便找一块光滑坚硬的平地上倒下来,打开睡袋睡觉。天亮后向左张望,发现原来是躺在Scientology教堂门口,且开始有一拨一拨的人在身边走过,进入教堂。于是手忙脚乱地穿好衣服收拾起睡袋赶紧溜走...

然后,我们俩在陌生但略微熟悉的街道上走路,夹道两旁的房屋有点老,仿佛是红砖墙。天是阴的,地面有点湿,但空气颇暖。四周的店面都很小,很古的样子(醒来之后回想一下,最象费城的小意大利街区)。走啊走啊,饿了,在一家意大利饭馆儿门口停下。饭馆门外还有一溜露天的玻璃食品柜,里面放了各式意大利式糕点(杏仁饼,果仁面包Panatone什么的),大约是饭馆里甜点师傅成批做的零卖。

进了餐馆后,我们坐在吧台上看一张纸菜单,因为老板不太会说英文,我们得在菜单上的号码上画圈告诉他点啥菜。菜单上密密麻麻地印了许多行,我不假思索地点了一盘 veal 和 tiramisu。某同学一如惯例地前思后想拿不定主意,最后只好请吧台后的老板推荐一个菜,老板手指着 mussels 说 special,菜单上又列了七八种不同的烧法,于是某同学就在某个 mussels 下画了圈。啊,终于可以吃上了,我垂涎着想 ...

然后就醒了!

Friday, February 24, 2012

Alborada del Gracioso

在广播上听到拉威尔的 Alborada del Gracioso,越听越觉得怎么让我不停地联想到卡门呢?打手板的快板部分和阴森的慢板部分都让我想起卡门。顺手一狗,果然是西班牙风,不过也没找到什么与卡门的联系。或许是我神经过敏了。

说起来我听拉威尔完全是因为被Tom Dickson的冰舞节目介绍入门的,光是听过(非常和谐、决不变调的) Bolero是不会引起我的兴趣的。

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

前传

Montalbano 系列正在拍前传,Michele Riondino 要出演年轻时代的 Comisario Montalbano. 我看这也太帅了点吧?Luca Zingaretti 年轻的时候哪有那么标致?



Michele Riondino. 对比 ---



Luca Zingaretti.

****

对比一下电视剧里的中年瓦兰德:



Rolf Lassgard



Gustav Skarsgard, 前传中的青年瓦兰德。

你说这都是怎么找的演员?观众要做的 mental leap 也太大了吧?

中年大叔们虽然不美,但是有个性,个性!

1790年 + Philip Glass

天啊,瑞典这出戏是要跟英国剧比惨吗?太evil了吧。连我都看不下去了,尤其受不了瑞典剧这么不哼不哈面无表情地煽情。

至少,探长和局长太太终于在第八集的结尾接上吻了。男主有点莫名,看不出为啥要拖这么久。

****

今天收到了 This American Life 的采访专辑 memory stick,其实我想听的只是主持人 Ira Glass 对 Philip Glass 的访问这一段。其他的访谈对象大半我都不认识。

A Study in Sherlock

这种短篇小说集的坏处是作者水平参差不齐,好处是可以迅速地溜一圈同类型作者,挑出几个对自己胃口的,然后去追他们。

这一本福尔摩斯“命题作文”的短篇集里,好看的不多,但是有几篇的作者很有趣,值得追一追。大部分并不是直接上原著人物而是在情节设计和人物设定上联系一下。加拿大作者 Alan Bradley 的 You'd Better Go in Disguise 是口吻腔调最象 Doyle 原文的,他可以去续写原著短篇。Neil Gaiman 是最有爱的,让人看了会心一笑,很温暖,虽然风格完全不 Doyle。Jan Burke 的 The Imitator 在情节设计和人物描写方面都非常精致,尤其是这种篇幅很短的限制下能迅速地让人物和读者建立感情与同情,又不牺牲情节的曲折与逻辑合理,一看就是高手。

整本书里我最喜欢的是 Dana Stabenow 的 The Eyak Interpreter。她的改写手法有点类似 Mark Gatiss 改写 The Hound,情节基本照搬原著,但是把环境彻底改掉,随之改编推理的细节,又再次证明 Doyle 的原著多么超越时代。这篇小说的背景放在她的老家 Alaska,充满独特的地方色彩,例如 Alaska 交通不便人烟稀少,大家都依赖飞机来来去去。人文环境也很特别,女主角 Kate Shugak 是个印第安血统的私家侦探,智勇双全;她的叙述者是个小男孩儿,不仅故事以 blog 的形式讲出来,而且这些 blogs 是语文课作业,非常可爱。风格语气很特别,有种很 Native American 的冷幽默和酷。我得去追 Kate Shugak 系列小说。

Inside This Heart of Mine

In an interview, Catherine Russell said she heard this Fats Waller song while making dinner and immediately went back and played it 10 times.

I did the same with her version of the song.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Violence, etc.

The Radiolab podcast on violence and empathy started out promising, but the human half is decidedly less insightful than the insect part. Disappointing.

Anyway, I don't want to discuss the subject of empathy or an indifferent universe or whatever, but rather that one of the comments left by "nerdmom" reminded me of something I sort of forgot.

A long time ago I went out with a grocery shop clerk, a slightly pudgy guy whose appearance to which I was attracted (don't ask me why). On the first and only date, within 2 minutes of talking, the physical attraction evaporated and I knew as well as he that this was not going anywhere. Nevertheless we chatted, perhaps more out of politeness than some residual hope. Nevertheless, I asked him about getting into fights with other young men, not because I was contemplating having a relationship and therefore gauging my chance of being beaten up, but merely out of curiosity. And thinking back I am a little ashamed to admit that it was a bit of a class stereotyping, because I never ask other men I met, who were perceived by me as more educated and "civilized", whether they had got into fights.

Now thinking back on that conversation, I suppose he could have been torn between the urge to show a bit of machismo and the instinct that he should not scare me off. I must admit I do not remember most of what he told me, but one anecdote stuck in my mind. He said there is no room for thinking in a fight. One entirely lives in the present, all his attention and strength must focus on the moment, so that he can hang on for just a little longer than the opponent. Hanging on, that is all that counts (at least to someone who has no training in fighting).

Monday, February 20, 2012

The Brits and the Swedes

The wide-eyed and soft-spoken Andrew Buchan is rather more lively and animated than the gawky Peter Eggers, but I just cannot warm to Lindsey Marshal in contrast to the luminous and earthy Linda Zilliacus (in fact Marshal's character annoys me). Alun Armstrong's acting is matched by few, but, with the unfortunate disadvantage of not being Swedish, he is not nearly as adorable and funny as Joel Spira's Freund. Rupert Graves has deteriorated from a lovable buffoon in Season 1 to a cardboard villain in Season 2, thus rendering the character significantly inferior to Chief Wahlstedt in the Swedish series.

Generally, I find the divorce proceedings throughout Garrow's Law Season 2 altogether tiresome and of much less interest than the running subplot of violent and radical revolutionaries in Anno 1790. Divorce or revolution? There is no contest!

Both series are excellent. Well written and produced, with palpable relevance to today's legal and social situation. Indeed, Garrow's Law reminds us that Texas in 2012 is essentially no less barbaric, unjust, and cruel than 18th century England.

Rupert Graves in False Hair



One of the most amusing scenes I have ever seen is in Season 1, Episode 3.

"Some decorum, madam."

...

"Am I a cuckold?"

"No sir, you are not."

天啊,第一季第三集这俩就吻上了;在瑞典剧里,探长和局长太太到第七集还没吻上,我估计整个第一季(十集)都没希望了。

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Baldacci-esque

上周五晚饭某同学想去吃23街上的埃塞俄比亚馆子。23街很有趣,夹在老旧不起眼的住宅区和高楼林立的大旅馆和办公楼之间,街两边一溜各色餐馆,以及一些零星破旧的洗衣店加油站什么的。因为靠近里根机场,这附近最多的就是出租车,一家巴基斯坦馆子生意最红火,每天24小时不关门,总有印巴裔出租司机进进出出来来往往。

晚饭周末时街上停满了车辆,某同学总爱把车停到街对面的太阳信托银行的停车场,虽然停车场上插满了牌子“仅供银行顾客停车,违者被拖自负”,但他的车一次也没被拖过。

饭后出门已经快九点了,餐馆街区还挺热闹,走到银行停车场就有点黑古隆冬的。一边溜达到车边坐进去,一边注意到角落里两个男人站在一辆黑车旁边嘀嘀咕咕窃窃私语。一般情况下从外表猜人的民族背景我可以猜得很准,但是这两人加上这个环境让我毫无头绪,二者之一或许是中东或许是北非,另一个可能是白人也可能是中东也可能是犹太。看上去两人都不象出租司机,气质举止都不象,而且穿得正经:一个人是西装领带,另一个是皮夹克。他们仿佛在等第三个人,略微心不在焉,眼神游移不定。

某同学发动机器开走的时候,我说,你看见那两人没?我在想他们是不是间谍什么的。

首都城外,河对面的北维州是个满有趣的地区,我常常觉得比城里更加适合搞秘密活动什么的。很多联邦机构的办公楼早已搬出城里挂着牌子的大楼,进驻离五角楼不远的一些面目模糊从不挂牌的办公楼里,就在离23街不远的“水晶城”附近,那里除了办公楼之外还有四通八达的地下通道。

(郁闷地说,描写人物场景之类的我的中文完全不行啊啊啊!)

Blind Spot

在新鲜空气上听见很有趣的访问,Tim Weiner 写了本 FBI 传记,里面大部分但不是全部在讲胡局长一手建立这个权力极大的机构的过程。

有趣的地方是他跟各任总统的关系,先是互利互惠,他给你点甜头吃,直到你 eat out of his hand。如果总统不识相,误解了主仆关系,他就叫你吃不了兜着走。例如尼克松的下场就是个教训,胡局长叫他不要什么人什么事儿都录音窃听,他不听,还对胡局长发火,结果可想而知。

我觉得最神奇的是 Weiner 爆了这么多内幕之后的结论是,美国法制就是好来就是好,权不过法,总统也得屈服于 FBI 的压力,权高也不能说谎。

Are you serious? 显然很多人看上去挺正常的甚至 highly functional,但是天生没有领会 irony 的能力,就好象有些人看上去挺正常,但是完全听不出音乐。

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Georgetown

About a year ago, we took the visiting in-laws to Georgetown for a walk. The streets were lined with restaurants and antique shops. Somewhere close to the Potomac river on one of the busiest streets, we walked past an Italian restaurant. It was April, in early bloom of spring, and the windows of the restaurants were opened to the flow of tourists in the street. It was past lunch time and therefore no crowd in the restaurant.

Near the front door a dark and rather handsome man stood leaning against the wall, smoking a cigarette. He looked between 30 and 35, dressed like a waiter, and appeared fittingly Italian. One of his eyes --- the left if I remember correctly --- was visibly bruised, giving him a slightly vicious and dangerous look. The sneer in his glance at passing pedestrians was hardly inviting.

I was intrigued. I guess I have not forgotten the look of that man at the Italian restaurant. What kind of a story could I fit him into? If it were a romance, maybe he had had a fight with the woman he loved desperately and violently --- It would be boring if he had a fight with another man over a woman, wouldn't it? If it were a thriller, he could have been a member of a seedy organization, or someone moonlighting as a hired muscle to do someone's dirty work. If it were a family drama, perhaps he had had a fight with an older brother over inheriting the restaurant.

I wonder.

Garrow's Law



看见有人指出 Anno 1790 多半是受到 BBC 电视剧 Garrow's Law 的启发和影响,于是去找来看了一点。果然哦。挺有趣的。The similarities are striking.

不过女主角 Lindsey Marshal 不如瑞典剧里的女主角 Linda Zilliacus 好看。



Not surprisingly, the Swedish series is far, far more vocally feminist than the BBC series.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Luciana Souza





Luuuuuuurrrrrrrv her bossa nova.

A most elegant and deceptive simplicity. You make it sound so easy.

Well, actually, I don't think "simplicity" is the correct word. (Perhaps, when it comes to good music there is no word.) It is the seductive purity of the sound.

Not True, Not True

Why do people hate Rap & Opera?

Because appreciating rap & opera requires too much effort? Really?

This argument feels so intuitively wrong, although I have no idea how to disprove it.

NPR Music postings do not usually get more than 10 comments on the Web site, but this one got nearly 200! Perhaps they posted this article just to provoke people and see whether people really visit their Web site.

I don't hate opera. In fact I was into Puccini once. Rap is really not my cup of tea, but that can be easily explained by the lack of melody.

When I was younger, I consumed lots of popular music as much as any other youth, but as an older person I am bored with most pop, not necessarily because my taste has become more sophisticated, but rather because (I suspect) I've heard too much already of something that has not much left to surprise me with delight. Of course, occasionally someone like Adele comes along and does surprise and delight everyone, and I'm not too snobby to appreciate that. But in general I'm just bored with music that does not surprise me any more.

Another bizarre turn of my taste is that I am increasingly preferring instrumental to vocal music. I am baffled and have no theory to explain it.

Downton Abbey

It's not always useless to watch a badly written show. Even a few minutes here and there of the show has proven to be informative: When I write the next story with a romantic plot, someone will get hurt. Someone will lose everything. Because seeing what does not work reminds me of what I truly should and want to do.

There will be blood!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Numb



某同学过生日,但是死不承认自己又老了一岁,我另找借口带他去附近的川菜馆子吃饭。

吃完嘴里和嘴唇都麻了,甚至脸颊表皮都有点麻酥酥的,花椒里这成分能不能提炼来做 topical anesthetic 啊?

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Patricide

So, this is an unavoidable element of masculinity. I must admit that everywhere I turn I see symbolic patricide as an essential element of a man's coming-of-age ritual. In John Hughes' movies, for example. The conflict between father and son is as universal as anything out there.

I used to think the Freudian interpretation of Hamlet is crap, but after listening to the MIT psychology lecture I must admit it is exceedingly fitting. The patricidal impulse is simultaneously satisfied in killing the stepfather and absolved in the idolization of the real father.

Whether the mother plays a role as the prize of the struggle I am not entirely convinced. It seems that even in a world without women, sons would always have to fight their fathers to become an adult male.

Matricide, on the other hand, might not be clear cut. As a female person I can attest to that. The conflict between the attachment and the competition is far from resolved by penis envy. Obviously girls also need a ritual to enter womanhood, but that is explicitly accomplished physiologically, so perhaps they need no symbolic rite of passage such as matricide? Nevertheless, the competition for male attention is definitely, indisputably real, hence the Snow White symbol. Nevertheless, I wonder whether the competition would remain fierce if the presence of man is removed...

Ack, I need to go read "Man and His Symbols." Hope they discuss Woman and Her Symbols as well.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Masculinity in FS and FT

Over a decade ago, during the height of all the Tanya Harding-Nancy Kerrigan hoopla and the rising dominance of Michelle Kwan, my friend did her theater-major Ph.D. thesis on femininity in the figure skating culture. She is now a figure skating judge (they're all volunteers).

It seems that good ideas often come to me in showers. As I did this morning I suddenly realized that I'm fascinated by masculinity in the figure skating culture. How did I get to this thought? I traced my thoughts back to last night. I was looking up a folk tale and stumbled upon "Iron Hans" in Grimms's fairy tales (type 502 in the Aarne-Thompson system). In the early 1990s, the story became the basis of a men's self-help movement started by the poet Robert Bly known as "Iron John."

How does this relate to figure skating? I came upon the realization that figure skating is perhaps one of the few places in sports where masculinity, as it is represented, is ambiguous, diverse, and complex, while most other competitive sports present masculinity in a linear way: more versus less, win versus loss, or dominance versus surrender. This is perhaps because figure skating is not a "pure" competitive sport, but rather a mixture of performance and competition of physicality and athleticism. There is a constant tension in figure skating between the performance and the athleticism that divide not only fans but also the judges and rule-makers.

I read the Iron John story and it is curiously not about the competition among men or dominance of women. I need to look into it some more.

It is figure skating that has taught me the diversity and complexity of masculinity, instead of the reductionist and linear view that controls the American social culture, which I think is incredibly idiotic. Masculinity is not at all simple and deserves more extensive study.

冰舞10

凑够十个了,Woohoo!

冰舞:
1. La Valse (Jane Summersett & Todd Gilles/Tom Dickson)
2. Devdas & Bunty Aur Babli soundtracks (Meryl Davis & Charlie White/Marina Zueva)
3. Somewhere in Time (Marie-France Dubreuil & Patrice Lauzon/David Wilson)
4. House of Flying Daggers (Trina Pratt & Todd Gilles/Christopher Dean)
5. Carnival in Venice (Isabelle Delobelle & Olivier Schonefelder/Pasquale Camerlengo)
6. Pink Floyd (Tessa Virtue & Scott Moir/Igor Shpilband & Marina Zueva)
7. Samson et Delila (Meryl Davis & Charlie White/Shpilband & Zueva)
8. Hitchcock soundtracks (Piper Gilles & Zachary Donohue/Tom Dickson)
9. Organ Donor (Natalie Pechalat/Fabian Bourzat/Sasha Zhulin)
10. The Landing, Turn Around, and Gravity of Love by Enigma (Sinead & John Kerr/Evgeny Platov?)

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Snow White

Why oh why are fairy tales always so damned illuminating? Yikes!

See Grimm's Little Snow White, Translator's notes #2:

Some differences between the edition of 1812 and later versions:

Beginning with the edition of 1819, the Grimms add the statement that Snow-White's mother died during childbirth, and that her father remarried. In the first edition, presumably the version closest to its oral sources, Snow-White's jealous antagonist is her own mother, not a stepmother.


Are you fucking kidding me? It makes so much sense!

I wish I was a fairy tale historian or somethin'.

人不可貌相

One of the most mind tickling phenomena is some people's mystery of the heart. There is no explaining why some people are the way they are.

A few years ago I had a colleague named Barbara. She is one of the prettiest women I have met in real life, with the same colors as Snow White: her skin white as snow, her lips red as blood, and her hair black as the ebony wood, with a couple of dimples in her cheeks thrown in as bonus. In a word, she looks like a doll.

During an after-work happy-hour gathering, as we shared our hobbies, Barbara announced that her passion was horror movies. She and her husband were life-long horror movie aficionados and liked them the bloodier the better. The Ring was OK, but their favorite was the original Friday the 13th. They had collected a houseful of videos of horror movies from all over the world, according to her, and their favorite pass-time on weekends was to watch some of these videos together. That is so romantic.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

A Study in Sherlock



等了几乎一个月,图书馆的排队终于论到了我,周末去领了回来。

Laura Lippman 的故事跟福尔摩斯根本沾不上边,形神都毫无交集,显然她并非福迷,也不知怎么被赶鸭架拉进这本集子。

SJ Rozan 版的 “歪唇男人” 其实情节过于七扭八弯了,不太合逻辑,但是很有趣,因为剧情里的人物是在伦敦开烟馆儿的中国老头。其中一个人说:"The subtlety of the mind of Mr. Sherlock Holmes could lead one to believe he is not an Englishman at all, but one of us."

至今最好看的一篇是 Neil Gaiman 的 The Case of Death and Honey. 不是侦探小说,而是他擅长的半奇幻类,但是因为他对福尔摩斯太熟也太迷,不让人觉得突兀。我尤其喜欢他的“传说”风格。巧合的是,Rozan 的故事一开篇就是“陈和手执白瓷茶杯说...”,Gaiman 的故事一开头第二段是:“这些事发生在老高失踪之后,他儿子从丽江回来继承他的蜂窝之前。” 看到这里我哈哈大笑,怎么两个人不约而同地把福尔摩斯和中国拉上了呢?Neil Gaiman 多半刚从丽江玩过回来,记忆犹新,故事里不是张寡妇就是木耳银鱼汤。

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Red



Before the curtain went up, I said to the friend who came with me, "I have a sinking feeling that the play may disappoint me." Maybe my expectations for the John Logan play was too high.

In the end it both did and did not let me down.

The play is necessarily didactic, which is not necessarily bad. There is something vaguely Tom Stoppard about all the intellectual and philosophical discussion about modern art, the meaning and purpose of art. This potential dryness is relieved by the physical enactment of the labor of painting --- mixing paint, assembling the frame, fixing the canvas, and, climactically, priming the canvas with a thick layer of the color of dried blood.

In the end the play is not entirely satisfactory, but at least it met my hope that it would illuminate Mark Rothko for me. Rothko, here, is presented as the anti-Pollock. See, I've always felt I "get" Pollock, but I had felt like I get Rothko, even after sitting in the Rothko Room at the local Phillips Collection for at least 15 minutes.



The play does succeed in making sense of Rothko to me. That is perhaps enough.

During the post-play discussion, a woman in the audience characterized Rothko in the play with "an impenetrable loneliness." Indeed. He went to his studio and worked alone every day, from 9 to 5, like a banker. The monochromatic palette of his paintings is a mixture of both self-effacing isolation and unfulfilled yearning for connection.

"I'm sick of your neediness," says Rothko at one point to his fictional assistant Ken. It is perhaps the most significant insight into Rothko himself. He needs, and he does not want to be needy. Hence the conflict and sadness.

The least successful part of the play is the (overly dramatic but ultimately underutilized) psychological background of Ken. Is he a projection of Rothko's own youth? A spiritual "son" for Rothko? Or merely a board to bounce arguments with Rothko? In contrast to Ken's sob story, Rothko's own history and its effect on his art and life and eventual suicide are not presented in the play. Perhaps it is not a flaw to restrict the play's scope to the discussion of his art and its place in history, etc., but the curious thing is that, once I learned a bit of his psychological history, things made a lot more sense than the play has presented.

He emigrated from Russia (after the revolution) to Oregon at the age of 11. In childhood, he suffered periods of separation from his parent(s). At 17 he won a scholarship to Yale, where he did not fit in with the privileged WASP kids, himself a Jew in 1920. He was an outsider, shut out and shunned and isolated and, very likely, despised. He hated it and dropped out after 2 years. Isolation then became a kind of self-protection, and an apparent arrogance/audacity was a strategy to reconcile his sense of self-worth and a lack of trust for others. Yes, I know just how that works. Deep down he is the needy Ken, waiting for someone to embrace him whole and without reservation, understanding the large and small heartbreaks he suffered in every year of his life. On the other hand he could not bear to hand over all his vulnerabilities and heartbreaks and disappointments, for weren't they all just the same lot as the Yale bastards? They would just reject and abandon and ridicule him, wouldn't they? How could he trust anyone? I do wonder whether John Logan, as an American-born writer, is able to understand the sense of displacement of an immigrant child.

International Mysteries

It's such a relief to have access to a few Swedish, Italian, French, and German detective series 6 days a week. The social idealism, the strong female characters, a lack of the relentless pursuit of happiness, ah ... what a breath of fresh air in an ever more suffocating cultural environment of my real life. They make me feel like I am not a lone freak.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Pina 3D



除了第一段的“春之祭”以外,影片中记录的另外三个舞蹈 Cafe Mueller, Kontakthof, 和 Vollmond,几乎全是哭着看完的。并不是因为影片中的哀悼 Pina Bausch 的主题,虽然舞蹈团员们默然怀念的脸和旁白也十分有效。让我哭得鼻青脸肿的是她的舞蹈, the yearning and desolation, tenderness and strength,虽然有些地方也有 joy and wonder,更多的是刻骨铭心的 melancholy,感动死了TNND。

Friday, February 3, 2012

Thursday, February 2, 2012

WorldCon

Will take place Aug 30 to Sep 3 in Chicago. Am contemplating ...

Actually, the only person I want to hunt down is GRRM. But then everyone wants to hunt him down.

Petyr Baelish of Sichuan: Echoes of the 3 Kingdoms

Sometimes my mind makes unexpected associations. A few days ago I was talking to a couple of friends, who are of Sichuan (or Szechuan) ances...

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