Monday, October 26, 2009

Adventures in Media I

I'll try to put my adventures in media all in one place, so you can skip them if you like.

The Prisoner
Where have you been all my life? Seriously, I am glad I ran across this last weekend. I haven't finished them all, but this is my kind of show. It's creepy, surreal, inventive, epic.

It's strange because I recognize a fair portion of the motifs from a Simpsons episode where Homer is taken to a sinister island because, as Mr X, he publishes an internet rumor that shows that he knows too much. The constant drugging, the replacement of number 2, even a cameo by the star.

You can see it on demand if you have Comcast. They provided all the episodes as a teaser for the AMC remake miniseries (looks like 6 episodes, starring Jim Caviezel and Ian McKellen).

If you have been waiting for an excuse to buy a Blu-Ray player, it looks like they've remastered the entire series in surround sound, and since it was originally filmed in 35mm, in high-def as well. It's coming out tomorrow at my fair employer.

Anna Karenina
In the words of Apu, "Mmmm... that's some good adultery!"

I have been rereading the epic novels of my youth lately. Dune held up, no surprise there. The Belgariad actually suffered a bit on my reread, somewhat to my surprise. The Eye of the World, also surprisingly, remains pretty cracking good.

And then there's Anna. My copy is twelve years old now and it's a bit the worse for wear. I have to retape the preface again because the pages have ripped off and are falling away from the binding. The page edge is covered in transferred ink from fingers and hands that rested too long on the words. It's got six colors of ink on the pages. By any standards, I've defaced it beyond recognition.

What keeps me coming back? As I've grown, I've found this novel growing with me. Now that I'm a family man with a young son, the pressures and paradises of married life stand out more starkly to me in Anna. I continue to see myself in her and Levin.

Anna escapes from her bourgeois life into a more dangerous one. For that much, she has to be admired. The part of us that cries out for more than the world around us must be listened to. But what we escape into must be carefully decided. Anna's passion and lack of wisdom leads her down a dark road, but it could could have been otherwise.

Thom Yorke at the Orpheum
Thom Yorke, the lead singer/songwriter of Radiohead, has been touring with a rock band, including longtime producer Nigel Godrich on keyboards and Flea, the bassist from the Red Hot Chili Peppers on bass. They are performing Yorke's solo material, including The Eraser album in its entirety, Radiohead B-sides and some new songs.

The new stuff will require some more listening (read: it's difficult, live)... but what they are doing to The Eraser is really fascinating. A somewhat methodical, bleeping and blooping "apocalyptic dance" album is transformed into wild rock.

I picked up the mp3s for one of the shows, so if you have trouble finding them, let me know and I'll post them.

Meanwhile, here is a study in contrasts. This is "The Eraser", the first song on the solo album, from the album, from a solo performance, and from this latest one with the band.

Album version

Live at Latitude Festival, solo

Live at the Orpheum, with the new band

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