Category Visual Arts

To Look, To See, To Linger, To Love

A few years ago, I was writing a script and coordinating with a production company to create a short video with narration and music. Part of my task was to amass a large cache of photos, each of which could match relevant parts of the narration. The protocol in such projects is to give the editor far more photos than he or she will need, and I dutifully performed that function to what I thought was completion.

So I was rather taken aback when the editor complained the next week that he didn’t have nearly enough photos to finish the job. The conversation went something like this:

Me: “How could this be? A hundred and fifty photos for a five-minute show isn’t enough?”
Him: “No way.”
Me: “By my count, that’s one every two seconds!”
Him: “People these days want really fast-moving pictures. They get bored if it’s too slow.”
Me: “People these days?…Bored? Too slow?”

And so on.

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I’m put in mind of that co...

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Quirky Movie Lover’s Delight: John Carney ‘s Hybrid Musical, “Once”

A busker is wailing his heart out to an audience of absolutely no one as drivers and pedestrians go about their business on a Dublin sidewalk. His brow furrowed and throat straining, he espies a stoop-shouldered addict, cigarette dangling from his lips, stumbling out from a little alleyway where he has just relieved himself against a graffiti-laden wall. Still wailing (“…the healing has begun…”), the busker keeps a wary eye out for the addict, who is milling about in front of the busker’s open guitar case pretending to enjoy the music.

As the addict stoops to ostensibly tie his sneakers, the busker stops singing momentarily and utters words of warning that he will chase him down if the addict dares to snatch whatever meager reward may be lying about in the guitar case, which is the very picture of “not overflowing with bills.”

The addict protests, mills about a bit more, then pounces, swooping up the enti...

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Bodies in Motion: A Meditation

Sometimes, in the diffused light of dawn or dusk, or on foggy streets where almost indiscernible shapes begin to reveal themselves as a human being or two in motion, I will peer a little closer, catch a certain swing of arm, quickened cadence, bounce of head or forward bend and know instantly, “There’s Gene!” (Or Karen or Kate or Kelly.)

Our bodies in motion are akin to signatures, indelible gestures that mark and follow us throughout life. All our intimates (excepting the visually impaired) can spot us from the proverbial mile away.

But those signatures do share something profound in common: how badly, with what relentless intensity, our bodies seek to scrawl them across the firmament.

When he sold his camera equipment last summer, it was evident he was heading for a crossroads, the bitch of it being that none of those roads ahead had much of anything to offer him.

We commence this effort from the first m...

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The Tragicomedy of “Honk for Jesus. Save Your Soul.”

Many critics are lumping Adamma Ebo’s “Honk for Jesus. Save Your Soul.” into the comedy genre, and suggest the movie should have stuck to its lane in drawing laughs at the hypocrisy and thinly disguised greed on display with a certain kind of evangelical megachurch pastor who at best has his hands in your pocket and at worst isn’t looking only for money when he’s fishing around in there.

Yes, there are plenty of cringey laughs at the usual sendups of avaricious preachers in expensive suits and palatial homes pounding away at a “prosperity gospel” that reserves most all the prosperity for themselves.

But Ebo’s film debut, in conjunction with her twin sister Adanne as producer, is much more notable for its dark and tragic elements that underscore the dismal con job such ostensible conduits to the divine perpetrate not only on their flocks, but on themselves, too...

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Melanie, the BuddhaChristLamaDoormat of “Gone With the Wind”

“Gone With the Wind” is an alternately enchanting, preposterous, compulsively readable/watchable turbo-charged romance of seduction, goodness and cynicism. Along the way, it is also top-heavy on the myth of a doomed Southern nobility fighting to preserve its way of life against the “invading hordes” of abolitionist heathens.

Watching the movie version the other night for probably the fifth or sixth time thanks to the cultural treasure of “Turner Classic Movies,  I was struck more than once with cynical guffaws and groans as scenes of wildly extravagant balls and untold riches played out under a patina of honor and chivalry that was in truth built upon the backs of slaves.

That said, I was also struck as never before by the character of Melanie Wilkes, the noble Ashley’s golden-hearted, ever-faithful wife.

Melanie contends with main character Scarlett O’Hara’s long-running obsession with stealing Ashley a...

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