Thursday, June 28, 2007

One Year

A few days ago Gus hit the year mark. He received some fantastic gifts from friends and both sides of the family (thank you!). He has added a ridiculously large measure of joy to our existence and we feel very blessed, very fortunate to be the keepers of his rambunctious spirit. Here is a video of him methodically demolishing his cake.

Thursday, June 14, 2007


Eat your heart out Whitney Houston! Someone can do it better than you, even with her tongue in her cheek. Shara Worden, when not singing opera or creating music as My Brightest Diamond, aparently sings a mean karaoke. I've met Shara before, as an Illinoisemaker in Sufjan's traveling band. She is nice.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

The Interview

I guess it shouldn’t have surprised me to see a shy Cormac McCarthy, but it did. It wasn’t clear whether he was shy in general or just shy of the cameras and Oprah Winfrey. The interview was very short, and turned out to be one of three segments on Oprah’s hour long program yesterday. They did about the same amount of talking about The Road as they did about his life and the writing process in general. And that was fine with me, because since we have so few windows into McCarthy’s life and methodology any dialogue whatsoever is interesting. He just seems so ordinary. He could have been one of many neighbors of mine growing up in small town Idaho, or some guy you stand next to in line at the supermarket.

I particularly liked his description of the impetus for the book—his standing in an El Paso hotel room in the middle of the night while his four year old son sleeps on the bed, and him looking out the window wondering what kind of future they may be slouching towards. The Road seemed more hopeful than his other works, and that was very satisfying. The concept of “enduring” in the book is approached with a sense of urgency and reverence.

I turned to Christy at one point of the interview and said, “I hope that she asks him if he believes in God.” It matters to me to know. I was happy to hear Oprah ask whether he had “worked out the God thing or not yet.” His answer seemed very human to me, “It would depend on what day you ask me” he said as he lauged. I believe that God plays a role in all of his works, and seems to be constantly on trial, or at the very least tested in relation to the heinous situations his characters are in.

I liked what little interview we received, and only wanted more. It isn’t on YouTube yet, from what I can tell, but you can watch it by registering for the Oprah Book Club on her website.

In other McCarthy news, the Coen Brothers premiered their adaptation of Cormac’s novel No Country For Old Men at the Cannes Film Festival to good reviews, especially for Javier Bardem as lead bad guy Chigurh. Click the link below to view 5 clips of the film.

No Country For Old Men

Monday, June 04, 2007

Bob and Daniel and Daniel

Last week I watched three documentaries. Rockumentaries. Whatever. Bob Dylan - Don't Look Back, Danielson - A Family Movie, and The Devil and Daniel Johnston.

Don't Look Back is an interesting, and from what I understand classic, look at Bob Dylan. Undeniably an absoulte force and touchstone in the musical world. It is fascinating to see how wrapped up he is in his own persona (or frustrated by it?). He has the walls of defense raised so carefully that one cannot ask him a straightforward question without mockery, disclaimer, or getting it thrown back in their face somehow. Therefore his personality lends itself to good film and good drama.

Danielson - A Family Movie is a great look at an artist trying to figure out how to reconcile his art with his spirituality. This film isn't as multi-dimensional as the others, but it is exciting to see an artist in the middle of his artistry, getting ideas for projects and carrying them out with a particular vision. Though I'm not really a fan of Daniel Smith's vocal styling, nor his music for the most part, it was well worth the watch.

The film that was the most thought provoking for me was The Devil and Daniel Johnston. Each of these films felt very different from the other, and I enjoyed each in its own right, but this one displayed the whole package of Daniel's humanity in all its beauty, power, and sadness. I'm definately a late comer to this party, but enjoyed it so much. This is such a compelling story and at every turn Daniel Johnston threatens to spin to his demise. Wonderful peice of filmmaking.