September 2005

Makes no difference if it’s sweet or hot

We’re having one of those whacky music weekends.

I don’t mean the ACL festival. What with the extreme heat and the crowds, that’s for masochists. A friend was forced to empty out her camelbak at the gate, and was told she could refill it from the fountain inside. Technically, there is a fountain inside, but she tells me there’s also a half-hour line to reach it, and the flow is so puny it would take another half-hour to fill her camelbak. This is nothing but evil moneygrubbing on the part of the organizers. It’s not a TABC requirement.

No, on Friday night Gwen and I rode down to Guero’s to catch our friend Gregory playing in his band, Bonneville County Pine Box. Not really our thing, but it was a fun outing.

After that, we rode over the Long Branch Inn to catch Sonic Uke and the White Ghost Shivers. Sonic Uke, which seems to be populated entirely by Cafe Mundi baristas, played their very strange interpretation of sweet music from the 20s. Always fun. White Ghost Shivers, on the other hand, is your quintessential hot-music outfit. They had seven (?? hard to tell) people crammed onto the Long Branch’s tiny stage, and they just tore it up non-stop with their rowdy, bawdy stuff until closing. Very high-energy, and a very packed room. We had to get there an hour before anything got started to find any kind of seat.

Saturday we veered in a completely different direction and heard the Vespers of the Blessed Virgin by Claudio Monteverdi, with instruments by the Whole Noyse and vocals by the St Mary’s Cathedral Schola Cantorum (phew). The program notes say that this piece marks the end of renaissance music and the start of baroque. I’ll take their word for it. The show was at St Mary’s, and I gotta say, the Catholics do not want you to get comfortable in church. The music was not my usual thing, but was excellent nonetheless.

The Constant Gardener

Saw The Constant Gardener yesterday. Excellent movie. This was a thriller, and felt like the movie that The Interpreter was trying to be, only moreso. Much more sinister, topical, and frighteningly believable plot.

Ralph Fiennes played his usual forlorn, understated character; in this movie his character seemed a little bit disconnected. I’m not sure if that was intentional or not. Excellent cast for the secondary characters, including Bill Nighy (from Sean of the Dead!) as a lubricious foreign-service aristocrat and Pete Postlethwaite as a Big Pharma stooge / relief-worker missionary.

40 year-old virgin

Saw The 40 Year Old Virgin recently. Hilarious. The title gives away the premise, which sounds suspiciously thin, but the story and Steve Carell pull it off. The movie manages to make fun of and sympathize with the eponymous dweeb all at the same time (much the way Galaxy Quest did).

One nitpick (as a friend pointed out) is that Andy Sitzer, Steve Carell’s character, rides a bike, the implication being that bike riding (like everything else Andy does) is juvenile. Feh. Catherine Keener was great as always. The first few movies I saw her in had her protraying a cast-iron bitch of one variety or another; she’s good at that, but I like her as a sympathetic character just as well.