Thursday, January 14, 2010

Dimensionally Challenged

Count me as another movie-lover with a tall 'Avatar' hurdle to overcome. Took me a dozen years before I got around to 'Titanic' (and for those still on that fence, the last hour *is* pretty impressive). Plus, there have been so many other worthy pictures released just lately...'Up in the Air' and 'Young Victoria,' to name two.

Here's the real stumbling block, though: your Veronica cannot detect 3D. On every checkup with my optometrist, it's always the, the moose and his impressive rack do NOT stand out from the surrounding scenery. (So how does one without 3D vision or depth perception become a world-class parallel-parker? Feel.)

Speaking of 'Young Victoria,' within 48 hours of that I saw 'Sunshine Cleaning,' a bookend to Emily Blunt's impressive range. Over the closing credits was played the immortal 'Spirit in the Sky' by Norman Greenbaum. Forty years on I am still not tired of it. Funny, the time I first heard it I thought he had done a Canned Heat rip-off. Later, of course, I reckoned ZZ Top had plagiarized poor Norman with 'La Grange.' Seems my adolescent ears had not yet been exposed to John Lee Hooker.

(I even remember buying the 45. I was in Simonds' Music Shop in Fairfield, CA. When I found the single I told that empire's matriarch that 'Spirit in the Sky' was going to be a big hit. Whereupon the elderly Mrs. Simonds smiled sweetly and said, 'Well then, dear, we'll order a box.')


The closing credits in 'Young Victoria' feature a lovely new song by Sinead O'Connor. Naturally, it is the only track in the digital soundtrack album not available a la carte. C'mon guys...why must it be a binary choice between piracy (with its attendant stigma) and feeling ripped off?...

Man. Taken by Trees and El Perro del Mar on the same Cedar bill on February 23rd, and me without a single Delta frequent-flyer mile to my name. Who says we Westerners don't understand suffering?...

Personal to Angel of Rock: Thank you for the Winter Jams. I'm on it...lots of stuff on that disc not yet in my library. Will report back...

Have learned of a geeky way to try out Spotify (the spiffy UK-based on-demand music streaming service not yet available here) on my very own desktop. Results next week...


Far too many unhappy surprises in the obituary pages lately. Vic Chesnutt. Amy Farris. Jay Reatard. Another jolt was Lhasa de Sela, who died of cancer on January 1 at age 37.

Lhasa lived an unconventional life, the first several years of which were spent criss-crossing the US and Mexico with her family in a converted school bus. The multiple cultures she was exposed to in her travels and by her mother (an avid lover of Latin, Arab, Eastern European and Asian music) informed her own art, which defied easy categorization.

My best one-word description of Lhasa's music: mysterious. The following is an example, one of her earliest-recorded English-language songs.

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