Thursday, April 19, 2007

Audio/Visual, Books

British pianist/multi-instrumentalist Steve Beresford is in town for a couple gigs. Had a lovely one last night at Barbes (trio with Nate Wooley) and a Company-style evening tonight with Jason Hwang, Jessica Pavone, Peter Evans, and Reuben Radding at Rose Live Music. Info below:

april 18 8pm barbes

steve beresford trio
nate wooley - trumpet
harris eisenstadt ˆ percussion

april 19 8pm rose live music

steve beresford and friends
jason hwang - violin, viola
jessica pavone - violin, viola
reuben radding - bass
steve beresford - piano
peter evans - trumpet
harris eisenstadt - percussion

Took in two films this week that shared excellent cinematography, editing, and plot devices: Blood Diamond and Children of Men.

While I was somehow disappointed to find that Blood Diamond was not shot where it was set (Sierra Leone, Liberia, Guinea) rather in Mozambique and South Africa, it doesn't change the fact that it looks stunning! Same can be said for Children of Men, the "anti-Bladerunner" as director Alfonso Cuaron termed his film. London 2027 looks incredible, with its technology-stopped-at 2014-due-to-chaos understatedness. When Cuaron and his team dressed their London sets, he said to make it "look more like Mexico" whenever he needed more reality of a destroyed future London.

The plot device that the two films share is the anti-hero (Leonardo DiCaprio in BD, Clive Owen in COM) who dies at the end of his journey after successfully saving the one who most needs to be saved. Both were cool, but for me the definitive performance of either movie is given by Djimon Hounsou in Blood Diamond. Wow!

Couple great books I've been digging. Mumbo Jumbo by Ishmael reed", the seminal early70s re-imagining of Black/White Race Relations set in 1920s New York City and beyond, and
Masters of the Sabar by Patricia Tang. Ms. Tang addresses a question that's been in previous posts of mine and intrigued me for years: what is the nature of the overlapping origins of Mandinka kutiro drums (also called tantango/saoruba) and Wolof sabar drums? She arrives at the same conclusion that I have: no one can say empirically and categorically which one came before the other. She does suggest that evidence points to Mandinka tantango pre-dating Wolof sabar. Which would corroborate the point of view that my friend Mandinka griot Foday Musa Suso has. The mystery continues...

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