Wednesday, January 16, 2008


Miguel mentioning T-shirts made me think of my favorite, given to me by my nephew:
"I Don't Think Much So I Might Not Be" Unfortunately I've gotten a number of "Huh? What's that mean?" and to be honest, that's all the Descartes I've read or cared to read. Bumper sticker Descartes. Sound byte Descartes.

William Stafford fest at Village Books tonight (Wednesday, at 7)

Books read:

Jean Rhys Quartet. A tragic but terrifically etched, and wryly funny novel about a woman adrift in Paris in the 20's. While the theme of this book is ultimately alienation, particularly of women, the prose avoids despair, largely due to her razor-sharp writing. She is one of the more remarkable stylists I've read lately. Her prose turns on wit, self-deprecation, reversals, pure descriptive narrative, and irony.

Djuna Barnes Smoke. Interesting to read Douglas Messerli's intro to this book, the fact that Barnes wrote copiously for several newspapers (which were a far different beast in the 19teens, collaging stories, essays, memoirs, rants, polemics, and news), and how stylistically this was a formative time for Barnes. As Messerli notes "Readers today may find it difficult to imagine how the mass audience of a newspaper (New York Morning Telegraph) that in its later years marketed itself as New York's "racing sheet," would or even could respond to fictions so peculiar as these." 'Paprika had a moribund mother under the counterpane, a chaperon who never spoke or moved, since she was paralyzed, but who was a pretty good one at that, being a white exclamation point this side of error.'

Movies seen:

The Jazz Singer -- Wildly funny, tragically sad, with incredibly disturbing elements (the blackface role in the Broadway play). Al Jolson is an absolute marveling maniac.

Black Orpheus (Orfeu Negro) -- At times this film seems a backdrop for Carnival and surrounding activities, but there are some fine moments, and some of them are the Carnival and surrounding activities, which is rendered with immediacy and vitality. The myth is loosely but effectively interpreted. Orpheus isn't much of a guitar player (his synching is pretty off), but he convinces the two boys he raises the sun every morning, and one of the most touching scenes is the ending, and a little girl in a white dress dancing. Great music, by Jobim, and terrific acting, particularly Lourdes de Oliveira who plays Mira. She would chew you up and not even spit out the bones.

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