Bird Call

I forgot to mention that my cousin Margaret called me from the free Andrew Bird show at the Three Rivers Arts Festival in Pittsburgh a few weeks ago, just to taunt me. I caught a couple of bars of “A Nervous Tic Motion of the Head to the Left” before the signal cut out. Or she hung up, I couldn’t tell which.
I love her, but it was mean, especially because we’re not going to end up seeing him in Montreal over the 4th of July weekend.

On A Tear

Creative juices are flowing at the Curtisian. Terri is warming up by painting watercolors. I’m blogging up more than I have in months. I letterpressed some experiments in silver ink. I’m looking forward to a four day weekend where I don’t touch a computer and maybe drink a case of PBR.

St. Joseph’s Baby Aspirin. Bartles and James.

A thank you, six months belated, to Miss Trix and Mr. Villain for their ‘welcome to 2006′ mix 2-CD box set. If only for introducing me to The Mountain Goats. I unofficially made “This Year” my theme song for the year early on (“I am gonna make it through this year, if it kills me!”), and now that I finally got around to buying the disc, I can’t get “You or Your Memory” out of my head.

(PS: I bought it via eMusic, so “disc” should be in “air quotes”. If you are thinking about signing up for eMusic, let me know, so that you can give me the kickback 50 mp3s. Shameless, I know. But how many kickback BMG Music Club CDs did you get out of me over the years, Stephen???)

Also in music news, is Jeff Mangum back?

Happy Endings & Harry Potter

No, the world doesn’t need Harry Potter to survive book 7. I’m hoping he doesn’t. Happy endings are a dime a dozen. Escapist fantasy and action movies and romanic comedies are everywhere, and like all junk food, leave you feeling hungrier than when you started.

I have always hypothesized that the reason that these books are wildly popular is that the heroes suffer in ingenious and extremely satisfying ways.

Case in point. Terri and I just watched the movie version of Book 4 the other night, and while I think they did an impressive job of condensing an 18,000-odd page book into a pretty good movie, the one scene they botched was the Yule Ball. And it only seemed botched because it’s so perfect in the book: it’s as good a depiction of a junior high dance as I’ve seen in anything, ever. It brilliantly captures the volatile mix of innocence, hormones, and hideously inflated romantic expectations. It captures the terror of actually asking someone to go with you. Nobody ends up going with who they should be going with. Everyone is miserable the whole way through, and it ends in tears, with nobody speaking to each other. And it has that “Oh, my god, my life is over!” feeling.

It’s awful, it resonates, it’s true. Compare and contrast with, say, Sixteen Candles, where after medium-intensity pouting for two hours, Molly Ringwald is swept off her feet by her Ferrari driving bo-hunk. Escapism just doesn’t give you the entertainment bang for the buck that misery does. Admit it!