So I am a movie junkie (and a news junkie, a history junkie, etc…) but the Oscar ceremony in spite of the very funny Jon Stewart almost always leaves me cold. A bunch of over-pampered, over-paid brats with some over-hyped films to be over-promoted! How about an award ceremony for great teachers or diligent beekeepers for a change? The red carpet saw a lot of blood this year…
Don’t get me wrong, I like big budget films but it’s always refreshing to see a low/no budget movie that makes it…I came out of Juno with smoke coming out of my ears – teen pregnancy is no laughing matter to me and to be so nonchalant about it in a movie that caters to the young is even worse – the script was over-written and awash in smart-ass dialog but I have to admit that the actors were all good.
Having an abortion is hard (just watch the great movie 4 months, 3 weeks and 2 days from Rumania) but keeping the baby when you are 16 and giving it away must be harder. The U.S. is the only western country that still has a constant debate about abortion (thanks to organized religion of course). The picture above is from a métro billboard in France; it says: Sexuality, Contraception, Abortion, a right, my choice, our freedom. Can you imagine this happening in the States?
I am glad that Once won in the song category and the acceptance speeches were the best of the the night. I saw Glen Hansard first in the excellent rock and roll film The Commitments and he’s just gotten better. The song that got the oscar, Falling Slowly, is worth listening to.
“Étais-je aveugle et sourd ou bien faut-il nécessairement la lumière d’un malheur pour éclairer un homme sous son vrai jour?” Le scaphandre et le papillon
“Had I been blind and deaf it wouldn’t take the harsh light of disaster for me to find my true nature” The diving bell and the butterfly
Los Angeles is basking in the light of having the remarkable Dudamel as its philharmonic orchestra’s next music director starting 2009.
“True class: South America’s lightning conductor . . . what I experienced was sensational. His name is Gustavo Dudamel – he produced enough electricity to light up Birmingham – a young man with boundless talent, deeply in love, and the world at his feet.” The Times (London)
Dudamel started by playing the violin before becoming a conductor – listen to him play as the devil himself in this clip. His joy and exuberance are contagious.
Venezuela is not all about Chavez and his histrionics – it could also be about El Sistema, an organization that gave birth to the likes of Dudamel through teaching music to children. I first read about this a few months back but tonight the 60 minutes program (a must see) just blew me away…250,000 Venezuelan teenagers and children, most from impoverished backgrounds, are participating in El Sistema that has already produced many world class musicians – Mahler and Bernstein are keeping them out of trouble – All over the world, young people have so much to give and from whom so little is expected…
Of course amid all this musical euphoria, the cynic in me remembers George Steiner‘s quote: “we know that a man can read Goethe or Rilke in the evening, that he can play Bach and Schubert, and go to his day’s work at Auschwitz in the morning.
I love my iPod! It’s ancient but I don’t want to get a new one yet; I have to admit that having a portable music library has not been my primary concern but the podcasts…oh the podcasts…
Many of my friends have asked about subscribing to podcasts with an iPod (or any other MP3) – this is how I listen to my news from around the world – it’s like TiVo-ing your favorite radio shows; you have to install itunes and take it from there:
And the rest is pretty easy. Here are some of the things I listen to: NPR morning news, scientific american , slate magazine, 2000 ans d’histoire, in our time with melvyn bragg, Radio Lab, NYT’s Frank Rich/Maureen Dowd , etc… I do download a “medley” of different stuff and I hardly listen to music on my ipod but that’s just me – the beauty of it all is that I can listen to what I want when I want and with a little gadget (iTrip), it even plays on my car radio.
Five minutes in the morning to download the podcasts from my computer and this can carry me through Life‘s rush-hour…Happiness is a lot of small/little things.