Too many of my recent posts have been tributes to great people who have passed. That being said, I've got to shout out to Kurt Vonnegut, who passed a couple months ago. Hey, better late than never.
Just finished God Bless you, Mr. Rosewater. This lovely, short novel is a fine example of Vonegut's mix of satire, black comedy and science fiction. its actually been quite awhile since I read Vonnegut, and I was impressed by his humanism. He manages to be very instructive without being overly didactic. No small feat.
Set in early 80s South Africa and beautifully shot on location there and in Mozambique, Catch A Fire is a powerful film about Black-White relations at the height of Apartheid. After sitting through Blood Diamond, The Last King of Scotland, and The Interpreter, its a relief to see a Hollywood film about Africa with an African character actually carrying the bulk of the screen time. While Tim Robbins does a capabale job as a morally-ambiguous police officer in the co-starring role, he is not on-screen nearly as much as the quietly burning Derek Luke, playing Patrick Cherusso, a man accused of a crime he didn't commit. Maybe the strongest performance of the entire film comes from Bonnie Henna, who plays Cherusso's wife. Mistreated while detained, Cherusso is pushed over the edge when the Boer police beat and detain his wife as a way of withdrawing a false confession. He is released and joins the African National Congress's struggle against the Apartheid government. See this one before any of the films mentioned above.
Playing the cool, thorny tunes of accordionist/composer Art Bailey's Riboflavin tomorrow night Friday June 15 at 7pm, with Reuben Radding and Michael Winograd as part of the Accordionology festival at Barbes this weekend. Come on down if you're in New York and read this before then.