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By TheophileEscargot (Mon Sep 30, 2013 at 03:47:09 PM EST) Reading, Watching, Museums, Theatre, Links (all tags)
Reading: "Kiki de Montparnasse". Theatre: "There has possibly been an incident". Museums: Mira Schendel. Watching: "Lincoln". Links.


What I'm Reading
Finished Kiki de Montparnesse by Catel and Jose-Luis Bocquet. Comic book biography of Alice "Kiki" Prin a model, dancer, artist and singer in pre-war Paris: best known for her lover Man Ray's photographs of her.

It romanticises her to some degree as a free spirit. Doesn't quite go for the full Manic Pixie Dream Girl treatment though: it treats her as important in her own right not just as an inspirer of men; and it has some downbeat content about teh more tragic aspects of her life, especially her middle age and her relationships with her family.

Nicely drawn with some expressive postures.

Overall , good comic, worth reading.

Theatre
Saw There has possibly been an incident at the Soho Theatre. Interesting play/poetry thing where three actors alternate between dramatic monologues. One strand is about an Anders Breivik-type killer, one about a revolution turning sour, one about a plane crash.

Very good. Was compelling despite the minimal set-up thanks to the well-paced script, and powerful staring performances from the actors.

Only thing I didn't like was the volume: there's painfully loud music as you enter, presumably to try to generate an intense atmosphere, and the performers are miked and amplified which shouldn't be necessary and I think removes some subtlety from the performance.

Overall though, an intense and powerful show, well worth seeing.

What I'm Watching
Saw Stephen Spielberg's Lincoln on disk. As so often with movies of the last decade or so, get the feeling there's a gripping 90 minute movie buried inside a lugubrious two and a half hour one

The movie focuses on Lincoln's attempts to get the House of Representatives to pass the 13th constitutional amendment banning slavery as the American Civil War grinds to a close. That's an interesting choice of focus, putting the emphasis on Lincoln's practical skills in the messy world of real politics. He has to deceive, dissemble and dole out sinecures to get votes, carefully balancing conservative and radical factions. Despite Daniel Day Lewis, the movie is almost stolen by Tommy Lee Jones as the radical Congressman Thaddeus Stevens forced to compromise his ideals.

I really liked the idea of that focus, making Lincoln a recognizable, modern political operator rather than a saintly inspirer. I suspect that was the focus of an original script which got pressured to become a more conventional biopic. Which means more inspiring Oscar-baiting speeches, more flashbacks telling the backstory, more tearjerking over the assassination.

Overall, a bit too long and hagiographic, but with some points of interest. Probably worth watching for political junkies and history buffs, but a bit dull for everyone else.

Museums
Saw the Mira Schendel exhibition at Tate Modern. Brazilian artist, started out unpromisingly with some muddy Mondrian-like rectangles but got a lot better in the later stages with some stark, textured black and white paintings, and then some good ethereal sculptures made up of hanging threads and papers. Worth a look.

Links
Socioeconomics. Rules vs. discretion. Help to work. "Average is Over" review:

But it's a very different forecast from the forecast that automation and the rise of the machines means that "average is over." The actual forecast is that the political system will be under the control of a relatively narrow elite who will stomp on the interests of the median household.

Articles. Mary Magdalene. Malcolm Gladwell. Norman Rockwell. K. J. Parker on sieges. Knight v. Snail marginalia, via.

Politics. Con/UKIP pact would boost Labour.

Video. Batdad.

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The Lincoln Lawyer | 7 comments (7 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback
The rules vs discretion post... by Metatone (4.00 / 1) #1 Tue Oct 01, 2013 at 10:03:55 AM EST
seems oddly empty. It's as if he doesn't want to acknowledge that we've had 20-30 years of rule based monetary policy...

Mary Magdalene: by ammoniacal (4.00 / 2) #2 Tue Oct 01, 2013 at 10:22:47 AM EST
The Western World's first fictional groupie.

"To this day that was the most bullshit caesar salad I have every experienced..." - triggerfinger

Lincoln by Scrymarch (4.00 / 1) #3 Tue Oct 01, 2013 at 10:42:55 AM EST
I really liked it, especially the unusual focus on him as a very practical deal making politician. Of course I am as you describe a political tragic; but my wife liked it too and she is neither political junkie nor history buff, and neither of us got the St Abraham of the American Civic Religion stuff in school.

I think Speilberg has always been prone to the extra dose of Hollywood sentimentality you describe, but the movie survived it anyway. It would have been braver to leave the assassination out entirely, but the way it was shown was not wrong; truer to the emotional shock of the thing.

Really liked the Yglesias point about the implied political program to bring the middle class back.

Iambic Web Certified

Yeah by TheophileEscargot (4.00 / 1) #5 Sat Oct 05, 2013 at 03:28:13 AM EST
I really wished they had ended the movie with that scene of Abe and Martha in their buggy talking about their holiday plans after all this was over. Would have been much more poignant. Wouldn't be surprised if that was how an earlier script ended, until it was decided that was insufficiently tearjerking, and that it wouldn't work for those viewers who don't know what happened to Lincoln...

It's a bit tricky to do a realistic historical Lincoln, because on the other side to the Saint Abraham crowd you have the revisionists who think the Civil War was nothing to do with slavery, just Big Government Yankee Oppression. But Lincoln did seem to get power on a dodgy, paranoid platform about how the slave states were going to extend slavery northward, be interesting to get a more balanced view of him.
--
It is unlikely that the good of a snail should reside in its shell: so is it likely that the good of a man should?

[ Parent ]
As it happens by Scrymarch (2.00 / 0) #6 Sat Oct 05, 2013 at 10:12:31 AM EST
Minor spoiler, that is more or less how Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter ends. They leave the assassination out.

I wonder if this even influenced the choice, through weird Hollywood logic.

Iambic Web Certified

[ Parent ]
As it happens by Scrymarch (2.00 / 0) #7 Sat Oct 05, 2013 at 10:12:32 AM EST
Minor spoiler, that is more or less how Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter ends. They leave the assassination out.

I wonder if this even influenced the choice, through weird Hollywood logic.

Iambic Web Certified

[ Parent ]
a 90 minute movie inside a two and a half hour one by wiredog (4.00 / 2) #4 Tue Oct 01, 2013 at 10:49:14 AM EST
I have that feeling about a lot of doorstopper novels.

Earth First!
(We can strip mine the rest later.)

The Lincoln Lawyer | 7 comments (7 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback