LISTENING

With smartphones, podcasts are booming, and as a result, radio drama is coming back in vogue. Last week I listened to The Message. It’s a fictional podcast about researchers trying to decode a message from . It’s creepy. It’s weird that a radio drama, that I know is totally fake, can make me feel so creeped out. Maybe because it’s happening in my ears? I’ve experienced that with The Truth as well. A piece that’s dramatic, but not necessarily scary, will make me feel more than a similar scene of TV or film. Maybe listening to sound is powerful in the way some argue reading a book is more powerful than watching an image because you create the image in your head.

Anyway, I thoroughly enjoyed it, and it’s so short you can breeze through it in a few commutes. And with sound design by Brendan Baker (of Love + Radio), you know it’s going to be good.

 

WATCHING

I watched SO MANY FILMS last week in an attempt to watch all the things that were expiring from my Netflix streaming queue. I did not succeed, but I knocked off several titles: A Clockwork Orange (Kubrick, 1971), While You Were Sleeping (Turtletaub, 1995), 3 Women (Altman, 1977), The Virgin Suicides (Coppola, 1999), Boogie Nights (Anderson, 1997), Teeth (Lichtenstein, 2007), Rosemary’s Baby (Polanski, 1968), Chinatown (Polanski, 1974), and the beginning of Once Upon a Time in the West (Leone, 1968).

Of all the films, Boogie Nights was by far my favorite. Paul Thomas Anderson has made 7 feature films and before Boogie Nights, I’d only seen There Will Be Blood (Anderson, 2007). But I loved it so much I decided I loved Paul Thomas Anderson. But then proceeded to not watch any of his stuff? I don’t understand why either. With Boogie Nights expiring, I had to watch it and I’m so glad I did. The acting is amazing, from the major players (Mark Wahlberg, Julianne Moore, Burt Reynolds, etc.) to the minors (Don Cheadle, etc.). I also love the tone of the film. It fluctuates between comedy and drama seamlessly. It’s a bit long, which might turn more casual filmgoers off. But seriously, I think I just love what Paul Thomas Anderson makes. But I should probably watch all his other films before I assert that statement.

Of the other films I watched last week, the only other ones I thought were really good were Chinatown and Once Upon a Time in the West. I don’t understand what people see in A Clockwork Orange. It was too strange for me, and in a bad way. 3 Women was also strange and I didn’t get it, but it didn’t repulse me. The other films were fine, par-for-the-course.

 

READING

Someone said Ursula K. Le Guin‘s The Left Hand of Darkness was amazing, so I bought it and started reading it. It’s alright. I think I just don’t like Le Guin’s style. Someone gave me The Compass Rose, a book of her short stories, and read a few but the words didn’t really touch me. It’s hard for me to get into sci-fi / fantasy that has different worlds and different names for things, and The Left Hand of Darkness has some of that. I was intrigued by the idea that the world is made of people that can and do switch back and forth between sexes. But at about a third through the book, there are no women. By that I mean the pronouns of all the characters are he/his/him, suggesting the norm is male, even though the individuals are described to be ambisexual. In fact, they are mostly neither male nor female, but can be male or female in order to procreate. So they are both male and female, but again, using the masculine pronouns seems to suggest male is norm. So that kind of sucks. Regardless, I’m interested in seeing what happens with the main characters. Also, the vignette chapters between the main narrative chapters are interesting. We’ll see what happens.

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