Wednesday, February 02, 2011


Here's the setlist through Wes Anderson's eyes.

Here's the setlist through the artists' (and others') eyes.

Before we get into last week's "Wes Anderson" session, thank you all for coming during one narsty blizzard! That was amazing. You are amazing. Snow is amazing. Couldn't bring myself to take photos of it b/c I just wanted to stare at it. Well, I suppose we all had a chance to do that on our respective walks/drives/rides home. I opted to walk. Guys were walking up and down 4th Ave shoveling cars out.


What's the saying? "MTV doesn't play music anymore." It's one of those things stodgy thirtysomethings like me are supposed to gripe about, right?

Truth is MTV plays plenty of music. Just not in the familiar format of music videos. Instead the network delivers the music in a current way -- like every other media outlet. Music is the driver in commercials. It sets the tone of Ameri-novellas. It's the aural bumper that moves us from one channel, one program, one mood, one item of interest to the next. In fact, music is too present to the point that it mirrors the ADD of pop culture. Here one momen...

Which is perhaps why I like Wes Anderson's films. He's as obsessive as the rest of us, consuming culture left and right. His films are often jam-packed with familiar and obscure nuggets (and Nuggets). Yet he takes his time. Shots are framed carefully, dialogue is delivered deliberately, music is woven carefully and everything feels contained. His films are like a less non sequitor version of a Mr. Show episode: vignettes flowing together in harmony. Moments like the revenge montage in Rushmore are meant to be remembered alongside the epic ending of the Who's "A Quick One" (which I just realized is noticeably pitched up in the film). Even more subtle moments like Max's midnight romancing of Rosemary involve an inseparable union between image, narrative and sound -- though Max's Yves Montaud tape may be a bit much.

Such containment means his films are often accused of being emotionally stilted. That's the big complaint, right? Then there's the "Needle in the Hay" scene in Royal Tenenbaums, which remains a particularly distressing moment -- perhaps most so when the music swells then suddenly clips out as Dudley walks in on Richie. The entire scene is a composition unto itself, something that makes the music and the visual so much better together.

Anderson more than earns his spot at a drawing session. While few of his scenes really conjure a particular physical expression so much as a feeling or a narrative, he consistently picks dynamic music and edits them in an efficient way.

I broke up the sets in terms of music themes he returns to: aggressive (Ramones, Stooges, garage rock), French pop/waltzes, classic Hindi film music and the Stones (who have appeared in all of his major films). The longer poses were just bits and bobs from selected films: Royal Tenenbaums, Darjeeling Limited and Rushmore.


Nate and I talked about doing fantasies or dreams as a theme for the next one, which should be this time next week. Will keep you posted. Oh, you're not being kept posted? Holler at me to be added to the list.

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