Search This Blog

Monday, August 30, 2010

Praise Be to The Concert God: Dylan & Mellencamp @ The Edgefield

When it comes to the existence of God I am a skeptical agnostic. However, after Bob Dylan’s show with John Mellencamp I am now a devout believer in “The Concert God”

The wheelchair section at the Edgefield turned out to be hideous. It was way too far back and not elevated at all. So, we decided to get as close as we could to the front. The spot we found was perfectly fine for the opener, but as soon as Mellencamp came out, nearly everyone stood, and thus blocked my view entirely.

Being the intrepid concertgoer that I am, I fought my way up to the stage. The best I could do was peer through the slats of the speaker tower. I was almost thwarted in my efforts by a very stupid woman who was waving a blanket for no apparent reason, right across my sightline. This was the first time The Concert God showed His mighty power because the woman inexplicably moved on.

At first the security guard hassled us, but after we explained exactly why we were there, he suddenly became my very best ally. He dutifully shooed away anyone who dared inch toward my hard-won vantage point. Was this yet another divine intervention by The Concert God ? I think so! Mellencamp was incredible. His set brought a wonderful end to the quest of fulfilling my “Bucket List”.

Bob Dylan moved center-stage, and suddenly my view from the slats went from not-so-great to completely useless, and so began our trek all the way around the venue, hampered by terribly rough terrain. We found an OK spot that provided a wide view of the stage. Dylan’s set was amazing, as always. Still, I was annoyed at having to trudge through a throng of people -twice- just to eek out a pretty poor view, especially considering the beautiful wheelchair seating at the outdoor concerts held by The Oregon Zoo.

I decided to write a brief note of complaint to The Edgefield about the location of the wheelchair section. I barely held-out hope for a response, let alone one that was nearly immediate, but that is what I got, (along with an offer of two tickets to the following night’s Dylan/Mellencamp show.)

This time we got right up front, but even then it was difficult to see when everyone gathered around the stage, and it was on this night that The Concert God showed the full range of His boundless strength. The security guard for this night was a young guy, not like the very old man from the previous night. He actually folded-up his own chair and told me to angle into his spot… This meant I had an absolutely perfect view of both Mellencamp and Dylan’s shows. Which leaves me with only one way to describe what happened: With The Concert God, all things are possible…..

Friday, March 5, 2010

"Brooklyn's Finest"

I loved a film called "Training Day" and I have spent a lot of time trying to find a worthy follow-up from any member of the creative team. First I looked into the other films of director Antoine Fuqua, only to find a long string of duds. Then I started to follow the screenwriter David Ayer, quickly finding the same. Now with "Brooklyn's Finest," Fuqua returns to the corrupt cop drama with a new screenwriter and it is the film that has convinced me to stop waiting for lightning to strike twice.

"Brooklyn's Finest" tells several stories, only one of which goes in an interesting direction. It is no coincidence that this plot-line requires the least amount of set-up. Most of "Finest" is unbearably slow and the sole element that sets the last thread apart is an undeniably suspenseful final scene.

American cinema and television has many fine entries in the police-corruption sub-genre: "Serpico", "Prince of the City" (both directed by the brilliant Sidney Lumet), "The Shield", and of course, "Training Day". Each of Fuqua and Ayer's films show that the greatness of "Training Day" was entirely due to the acclaimed performance of Denzel Washington, and he has the Oscar to prove it.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

'Shutter Island"

'Shutter Island" is a beautiful, haunting, densely layered thriller by an American master. It is a gorgeous, grotesque, mad symphony of a film. It is a spell-binding journey down an exceptionally twisty rabbit hole.

I spent much of the film patting myself on the back because I thought I had deciphered a major plot point due to a couple of telling shots. I would soon discover that although I was correct, it was but a tiny piece of an intricate puzzle. Soon I would pay for my premature self-congratulation, the end of the film contains a key subtlety that I sadly admit I missed. This final revelation which passes in the blink of an eye, and requires a finely-tuned ear elevates the film from a excellent genre piece to a film so nuanced it demands repeat viewings to fully explore its depth.