Eddie Murphy in the early eighties dresses up as he does in "White Like Me" (see below) to audition as a student for Jascha Heifetz (see below below). Hijinks guaranteed. (Lorne, if you're reading, my e-mail address is on this blog's about page.)
After wife swapping, how could exchanging races not shock our numbed American senses as the next thoroughly original and "Extreme" reality TV challenge? At least that's what F/X is striving to have us believe - the fact that Ice Cube's new show is pioneering. Guess he's betting on the fact that we won't remember White Like Me. Or that Eddie Murphy won't mind him riding his coattails to some sweet cable development deal blingo.
The violinist pictured above is Jascha Heifetz, perhaps the most memorable of the Golden Age soloists and a so-called "classical" virtuoso who was actually a household name in many American communities (yes, there was a time when a violinist was just as famous as a scantily clad starlet on the cover of an entertainment rag). Coincidentally, I have a story in tomorrow's LA Times about a unique community of Heifetz students and friends seeking to preserve his influence with: masterclasses, concerts, and prizes for a Heifetz successor--a fascinating story to me, since I've known and studied with cultish Heifetz descendants for years (none interviewed for this story, or members of this society). At any rate, a text version of the story follows after the jump, but you can read it online here. Yet do yourself a favor, classical music fan or not, and first read this personal assessment of the man's recordings by the generous and profound music critic Tim Page. Tim writes: "Few performing artists have exercised such meticulous control over their creative lives, in such a tumultuous era." Read about the people who devote their lives to keeping Heifetz's legend afloat, however, and you'll see that Heifetz didn't just have meticulous control over his creative life, but over the hearts and minds of the people he knew. Scary.
This article about Vanity Fair's new naked cover is right. A clothed male juxtaposed against naked women does suggest dominance, and that's a sad, certainly new twist on things, no? My one beef with the piece, however, is that I'm not sure Scarlett Johanssen looks "baby chubby" in the VF picture. I think she looks more like a boiled chicken. The question now is: What does a clothed man juxtaposed against one naked young woman and one boiled chicken symbolize? I think the answer, at least to some of my descendants raised in the fowleriffic Yiddish quarter of Lodz, Poland, is a romantic -- and sa-sa-savory -- Friday night dinner. Le Chaim.
In today's edition of Kottke.org there's a bit about how Roger Ebert calls Syriana a "hyperlink movie" (a concept allegedly founded on Mark Bernstein's blog in 2003). I wholeheartedly agree, but don't believe Ebert is the only critic now making these connections in print. In David Denby's review of the film, the New Yorker critic writes: "[Gaghan is] a Web-era filmmaker—distance is just a form of connection." I took this idea as a jumping off point in December to discuss how the film's form is emblematic of its message, but that I didn't feel like it worked. Certainly not as well as Traffic. In fact, I simply found it a way to manipulate people bred on this system of information-linking. This is, after all, the easiest way to incite anxiety in a viewer like me who had the Internet at age 17 and often has to flood my mind with linear methods of storytelling just to remain a clear writer. To understand hyperlink films, however, it might be best to take a trip to the source: hypertext. In this article for the NY Times about e-mail fiction, I scratched the surface, though did manage to bring in some thoughts by hypertext scholar Noah Wardrip-Fruin. Get into this world, I tell you, and you might not find a way out. But hey, maybe it will help you feel more comfortable viewing Syriana. Such that you may actually enjoy the thing.
In the spirit of blogger self-referentiality, I must take this moment to
declare my shock that the same amount of people (about 650 a day) visit my blog
whether or not I post something. I have gone on long hiatuses before (is that
right? hiatusES?). And each time, I return with the same results. Is it because
I blog about newsworthy stuff that pops up on Google a lot? Is it because you
all really like me? I'm happy in all cases. And of course, feeling like I owe
something to this new world that, unlike publishing, doesn't just forget you if
you take a break. So allow me to add some historical context to all the
discussions on Alex Ross's blog and in both the LAT and NYT about online
classical music. I began covering this world in 2000 for the NYT and The New Republic
Online when sites like Classics Today, Global Music Network, and Andante
launched. At the time, forward-thinking TNR was even paying me to review
webcasts as a new form of music listening experience that deserved a new kind of
criticism (I can thank my brilliant editor at the time, Jeremy McCarter, for
indulging and supporting this interest; Jeremy is now NY Mag's stellar theater critic). Anyway, you can read some of these prehistoric online music pieces below the jump, including essays about Pierre Boulez introducing Andante and Pinchas Zuckerman teaching online masterlcasses. And you thought taskmaster-induced fear wouldn't transmit over broadband Internet fat pipes.
So, it's been a while since my last post, and personal injury has a lot to do with that. Yet, I had to jump onto the Shallot this morning to clarify an issue many readers have been writing me about. The Mozart letter below. It. Is. Not. Non-fiction. Yes, I've been blogging ocassionally about Mssr. Frey. Yes, I champion so-called "creative non-fictionists" (when they're writing literary works as opposed to journalism; although was Joseph Mitchell's "Old Mr. Flood" considered journalism in its day?). I digress. My point, friends, is that my Mozart letter was just a humorous riff, a casual, a fictional humor piece, perhaps based on personal experience. Sure there's a lot of me in there. But no, I am not miserable. And I certainly do not hate Mozart (quite the opposite). Nor do I consider the man a so-called "Mo-Fo" (and I used this term now instead of a full-length or slangified version because I know how much it upsets certain people in my karass). So, if it even still holds up after a week as mildly entertaining, please enjoy the Mozart letter, and do often consider my blog to be a place where I may experiment, make jokes, and maybe even write some fiction. Or, God forbid, some humor. I may not be as unhappy as the man below wishing Mozart a trip to Hell, but I still need to laugh every now and then, and I hope you do too.