There's a lot of hemming and hawing over The Death of the Newspaper these days. Not that there shouldn't be. A lot of good people are losing jobs and getting pay cuts. There's a real fear that the fourth branch of government will vanish, leaving us in the hands of Katie Couric, the last paid reporter asking the tough questions. I have to admit, it's a bit much for me, seeing the media report on itself all the time. But that's the conundrum. Who else can do it? Artisan cheese-makers?
Without making the slightest attempt to beat them, I've decided to join them. It's my turn to submit a eulogy.
The Seattle International Film Festival, which started this weekend, will be showcasing the latest film by legendary Francis Ford "Godfather" Coppola. "Tetro," which takes place in Argentina and stars greaseball/hipster Vincent Gallo and "Y Tu Mama Tambien" wildcat Maribel Verdu, features Coppola's first original screenplay since 1974. Coppola will be in attendance, which is pretty awesome, even though there's a 50-50 chance it could be another "Godfather III." What is not awesome is the ticket price. It's $125 to possibly schmooze with the big man, $25 just for the film, even though standard admission at SIFF is just $11.
One of the great cultural archetypes is the obsessive painter. He strives to express something ineffable on canvas. He rejects societal taboos in pursuit of the truth. His loved ones, neglected and sometimes abused, suffer for his passion.
Jacques Rivette's 1991 film "La Belle Noiseuse" retells this story, but thankfully manages to blunt the clichés and yields something memorable and often magical.
Michael Caine hasn't always been Batman's butler. For more than 50 years, the prolific British actor has played soldiers, spies, womanizers and violent criminals. He has won two supporting actor Oscars, the first for playing a neurotic adulterer in Woody Allen's "Hannah and Her Sisters" (1986), and the second for his portrayal of an orphanage director in "The Cider House Rules" (1999).
But I don't care about any of this. For me, Michael Caine will always be the snarling hitman in the 1971 British thriller "Get Carter."
"The Italian Job," released in 1969, is considered by many to be the quintessential Swingin' Sixties British film. Despite its timeless heist setup, there's a lot of hip: a funky Quincy Jones score, Michael Caine starring as a suave, philandering thief, lots of girls in their underwear, and a small herd of Minis tooling around on a hangar-size roof in one of cinema history's greatest car chases.
Monomania, single-mindedness, obsession. Whatever you want to call it, the drive that blacks out everything in the periphery and narrows one's focus on an impossible goal eludes contemporary man. We compartmentalize our existence, devoting precious chunks of our lives to wiping up spills, walking to the grocery store, writing e-mails and getting our tires rotated. Even though we hope to look back and see mountains conquered and novels written, we engage in checking off busy-work on daily to-do lists.
Like many of fans of the "Watchmen" comic, I enjoyed seeing my favorite mid-life crime-fighters brought to the screen. A couple of the voices weren't as I imagined them. Still, I sat back and enjoyed the explosions.
But anyone who's seen "Watchmen" knows it offers only a grim solution to nuclear annihilation. Without giving the ending away, somebody with a lot of power goes with a lesser evil, which still hurts pretty bad. It's a clever twist, but so fantastic and horrible, it gives us little to work with in the real world.
It's a novel idea: Dr. Jekyll transforming into his lecherous alter-ego by snorting an experimental powder up his nose. And there's some sense to it. In the early eighties, Mr. Hyde probably would have been a hairy-chested, gold chain wearing drug fiend obsessed with a prostitute who sings in a New Wave band at a seedy night club.
After the abrupt closing of the Crocodile back in Dec. 2007, the remodeled Belltown club will be back in business on Thursday with a free 21-and-over show featuring local bands.
They opened last night at New City Theater in a Shoebox on Capitol Hill. Billed as "Two Haunting Plays," directed by Seattle filmmaker Janice Findley, "Rockaby" and "Footfalls" were written by the late Samuel Beckett and they're about death, or life, depending on your perspective.
Edward Hopper's "Chop Suey" reveals a painter who didn't understand other people. The 1929 canvas shows two women sitting at a restaurant table in shot-reverse-shot: one facing us, one at a three-quarter angle with her back to the viewer. We can't tell much from the face of the woman we can see. Like many of Hopper's people, her eyes are black ovals, and her lips are closed, expressionless. Hopper won't let her let us in.
It's a neat trick. The Frye Art Museum's latest exhibition, "The Munich Secession and America," commemorates two things: the 100th anniversary of an important European art movement's US debut, and its own, private collections.
Tomorrow night you can meet the artist commissioned to create an original artwork for Sound Transit's University district underground light rail station.
Are you an artist? Do you want to get your art up? Many businesses on the Hill, even a national chain, will show your art.