It’s November. For some it’s #Noirvember (watch as many Film Noirs as possible). For others it’s NaNoWriMo (write 50,000 words or die trying).
I’ve been “participating” on and off in NaNoWriMo for five or six years. The first year I was just out of my MFA program, and gung f’ing ho to write that first m’f’ing goddam novel! YEEAAAAAHHHH.
By the time Thanksgiving hit, I was something like 30,000 words in and hating. every. single. sentence.
I wasn’t into the book I was writing and I’d hit a stone cold wall of self doubt. There’s nothing… and I mean nothing that kills a writer’s mojo more than self doubt. 99.9% of all cases of so-called “writer’s block” I’d guess have something to do with self doubt. That’s how much it cripples me. And it doesn’t happen all at once. It starts with 0ne discordant sentence that grows into a paragraph, a page, a chapter… and then, finally, consumes the entire project. With only a week left, I threw in the towel, scrapped the project and never returned. Continue reading Commence NaNoWriMo
Credit goes to culture connoisseur @ThatAndyRoss for bringing this video to my attention on Facebook. He probably didn’t know he would end up in a shout out on my bl-g, but so it goes.
The fellow in the video is John Green, author and vlog brother. He also creates videos for MentalFloss.com, one of my favorite daily diversions. If you’re friends with me on Facebook, you’ve probably seen some of my rampant Mental Floss shares. They’re goddamn interesting, okay! Goddamn.
Point is that I’ve been a fan of John as an Internet personality for quite some time. His delivery contains the requisite amount of sincere sarcasm. If you’ve seen his videos, you probably get what I’m saying with “sincere sarcasm.” If you haven’t, you’re probably trying to interrupt this post with cries of “oxymoron.” Stop being so negative. And ultimately that’s what this video is about.
Stop being negative, John says and “Watch Harvey.” It hits very close to home, having endured… we’ll call it a mental episode of my own. That downward spiral caused me to create this bl-g and write about how rediscovering vinyl helped pull me out of said funk. At that second in my life, my “Harvey” was vinyl and the pop music of my childhood… but if I had to pick a “Harvey” for most of the rest of my seconds, it would also be Harvey.
Last week the wife and I attended the theater. Occasionally we go out and do random cultural things to be a part of a better more art conscious society The problem with partaking of cultural novelties in Pittsburgh is that they’re often poorly advertised and don’t reach their intended audience. We picked this show out of a pile of other potential options because 1) it wasn’t sold out and B) the show is French and if there’s one thing I’ve come to learn about the French it’s that they know how to do weird things on stage. Full on French or French Canadian, it doesn’t matter. Zimmerman & de Perrot seem to share the same wicked sense of humor as Jacques Tati. The show turned out to be a brilliant combination of acrobatics and avant-garde satire. And beats… we can’t forget the very, very, very French DJ spinning beats and sound effects on three different turntables to provide the show’s soundtrack. The overall result was something mesmerizing and affecting with layered sight gags, soundscapes and acrobatics. You might not notice when this show comes to town. I saw very little targeted advertising and it wound up lost among the many other shows during the “Festival of Firsts” here in town.
Here’s a mishmash of moments from their performance. If you notice, somehow that it’s coming to your general area, buy tickets. Go. Make the effort.
Live music is worth it. It just is.
Not all live music, of course. Don’t get me wrong. There are plenty of live acts that just don’t live up to the hype. I don’t need to relive my Mumford & Sons experience. Of course, that Mumford show lingered in the back of my mind when I committed to drive across the broad state of Pennsylvania to attend the Franz Ferdinand show at the Tower Theater. That’s 4 1/2 hours driving each way. That’s the cost of a hotel room. Plus whatever other unexpected obstacles would present themselves along the way.
My wife and I went back and forth for a week about whether to go. I waffled! I admit! And I’m the guy that’s been wanting to see Franz Ferdinand since he first saw the “Take Me Out” video on MTV, now almost a decade ago. That’s a long damn time to wait. I’ve written intermittently about the cathartic power of live music. All the what-ifs and worries shouldn’t have tormented me. Another night on the couch catching up on movies I’d DVR’d off TCM or Franz Ferdinand in Philadelphia? The choice should have been a simple one. Continue reading Franz Ferdinand @ Tower Theater: Upper Darby, PA
I’ll be writing an article on MASQUE OF THE RED DEATH, specifically as it represents one of the few films to successfully adapt Poe to the big screen. Join the festivities with The Nitrate Diva.