Friday, March 29, 2013

Deep Focus: The Servant, When Pinter Met Losey

Posted By on Fri, Mar 29, 2013 at 8:55 AM

[In a new weekly feature for Country Life, James Cathcart, DJ, cinephile and now programmer of Third Man Records' new Light and Sound Machine film series, shares finds from the dusky celluloid recesses and online frontiers of cinema.]

Over the last couple weeks, Deep Focus highlighted author Thomas McGuane’s contributions to American movies in the 1970s. This week we continue the theme of cinematic forays by a great literary voice. This time it’s Harold Pinter and The Servant — the crown jewel of his trifecta of British-produced collaborations (including Accident and The Go-Between, discounting an uncredited contribution to Modesty Blaise) with American exile Joseph Losey.

Pinter, the staunchly left-wing playwright who examined the nature of human cruelty in works such as The Birthday Party, The Homecoming and Betrayal, shadowed his career in stagecraft with equal success as a screenwriter. He would adapt both his own work (those three aforementioned titles, directed by William Friedkin, Sir Peter Hall, and David Hugh Jones, respectively) as well as the work of others (Karel Reisz’s film of John Fowles’ The French Lieutenant's Woman and Elia Kazan’s critically divisive swansong, The Last Tycoon, from the unfinished novel by F. Scott Fitzgerald).

Though his films with Losey fall into the latter group, they maintain a distinctly Pinterian obsession with sadistic mind games and power plays, pitting one class of human against another. In the case of The Servant, it’s James Fox, in his first leading role, versus Dirk Bogarde, who would later become the embodiment of psychosexual solicitude by way of films like The Damned, The Night Porter, and Despair. Several years before those roles turned Bogarde into an emblem of the craven sexuality of the Third Reich, it was The Servant that put an end to his innocuous persona as the matinee idol from such comparatively tame Rank Organization productions as 1954’s Doctor in the House.

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Tonight: NPR's On Point With Tom Ashbrook at TPAC

Posted By on Fri, Mar 29, 2013 at 6:30 AM

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On Point With Tom Ashbrook
Where: TPAC's Polk Theater
When: 7 p.m. Friday, March 29

“In ballet, ‘on point’ means up on your toes,” says Tom Ashbrook, host of NPR’s On Point, in an official statement about his program. “In war, it’s the lead soldier on patrol. In conversation, it’s the heart of the matter.” In truth, there likely couldn’t possibly be a better term to describe Ashbrook himself than “on point.”

Before settling down in Boston, he studied at Yale as well as at India’s Andhra University, put in time as a surveyor in Alaska, produced kung fu films in Hong Kong and served as a foreign correspondent all throughout Asia. On his syndicated morning program —which operates out of WBUR in Boston — Ashbrook seems impossibly well-prepared on each of the remarkably varied topics he and his guests cover, from gun reform and foreign policy to the career of Dolly Parton or the future of artificial intelligence.

To be hyperbolic — something Ashbrook would almost certainly never do — the man is among the finest journalists to practice the profession, and honestly as good or better at his job than anyone you’ll ever come across. Tonight, Ashbrook records an episode of On Point for future broadcast.

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What Not to Do at an Anime Convention

Posted By on Fri, Mar 29, 2013 at 5:01 AM

With the Middle Tennessee Anime Convention getting underway today at the downtown Renaissance Hotel and Nashville Convention Center — see Cass Teague's article in this week's Scene — some people may be attending such an event for the first time. Trust us, you don't want to walk into a Lolita Tea Party and holler, "Hey, Morticia called! She wants her party dress back."

In that spirit, we asked MTAC PR director Nicholas Qualls for some guidelines on anime-convention etiquette. He responded with a list of 10 tips worth scanning whether or not you know otaku from oatmeal:

Don't make fun of costumes or cosplayers. These people put a lot of time and love into creating costumes of their beloved characters. Plus you're probably outnumbered.

Don't avoid showers. Most conventions are three days of thousands of people in an enclosed space, rushing from event and event and dancing the night away. Body funk will happen. Don't help it. Shower.

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Thursday, March 28, 2013

Nashville Fashion: Weak, or Just Not There Yet?

Posted By on Thu, Mar 28, 2013 at 12:51 PM

Model: Chelsea Nichol; Uniform: Polly’s Service Center; Earrings & Necklace: Sleeveless
  • Photo: Eric England
  • Model: Chelsea Nichol; Uniform: Polly’s Service Center; Earrings & Necklace: Sleeveless
This week's Scene print edition anticipates the start of Nashville Fashion Week by asking a simple question: Does Nashville have what it takes to build a sustainable fashion industry? Abby White talks to Project Runway Season 11 contestant Amanda Valentine, who says all the attention she got from being on the show has been great and all, but at the end of the day, "I'm still making stuff in my apartment studio."

So where do we go from here?

Providing a variety of answers, questions, possibilities and hypothetical situations worth exploring: former New York Post fashion editor and occasional Scene contributor Libby Callaway; recent Nashville transplant Sophie Simmons, who launched the upscale lingerie line Dessous and bridesmaid line Thread while in New York; design duo Jamie and the Jones, currently operating out of Nashville and Seoul simultaneously; and Jennifer Cole, executive director of the Metro Nashville Arts Commission, who says, "There is a network of venture capital in [Nashville] that the creative community has not accessed."

Read the whole story here, and while you're at it, check out our fashion photo spread featuring some of our favorite Music City work wear. (Special thanks to the Ryman, Third Man Records, Barista Parlor, Polly's Service Center and Yazoo Brewery for lending us their unis and, in one case, their employee.)

Below, the TEDxAtlanta talk by Carrie and Matt Eddmenson referred to in the story — the one where the Imogene + Willie owners say the decline of domestic manufacturing is "killing" their dream.

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Fitness Crawl Studio Spotlight: Krank Nashville

Posted By on Thu, Mar 28, 2013 at 12:42 PM

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Despite the frigid temps outside, it's never too early to start thinking about swimsuits and strapless summer dresses. Some of you may even be involved in some sort of spring break shenanigans at this very moment, although if you're anywhere near the city limits, we sure hope you're wearing more than a bathing suit.

For the rest of us who are dreading the moment our pasty, doughy limbs are exposed for all the world to see, there is hope: We offer the 2013 Fitness Crawl, presented by Nashville Scene and The YMCA of Middle Tennessee.

The crawl will feature free classes at several local studios and gyms in Nashville and Brentwood, giving you the opportunity to try different types of workouts, different teachers and different environments. Participating vendors include the YMCA, Hot Yoga Plus, Iron Tribe, Fahrenheit Yoga, Krank Nashville, Sun & Ski, and Sanctuary for Yoga. All classes are open to the public — boys and girls — and it's first come, first served. Make sure you get to each class early, as we maxed out nearly every class on the 2012 Crawl. Full schedule available here.

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Nashville Recap: ‘When You’re Tired of Breaking Other Hearts’

Posted By on Thu, Mar 28, 2013 at 9:43 AM

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Katie Couric. Biker Bars. Melee in The Gulch. More Below.

Rayna
Rayna has been up since four in the morning, for some reason, puttering around the kitchen doing mom stuff: “I put your lunch bags in the fridge and the bananas in a bowl and started a load of laundry at 2 a.m!” Bucky materializes to talk about their label and laugh at all the demo CDs a bunch of losers have sent in for her to listen to. He suggests she go on Katie Couric’s show to discuss her hot probs in a “classy, exclusive way.” “Classy” and “exclusive” are often used to describe your jankier titty bars, BTW.

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Tonight: Harrell Fletcher at Watkins

Posted By on Thu, Mar 28, 2013 at 6:30 AM

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Visiting Artists Series: Harrell Fletcher
Where: Watkins College of Art, Design & Film
When: 6 p.m. Thursday, March 28

Learning to Love You More was the online creative project that Harrell Fletcher launched with fellow artist Miranda July in 2002. The site became a gathering place where anyone with an Internet connection could visit, read the instructions for one of 63 creative assignments created by the artists, turn in the completed work and have it posted online. Typical tasks included “Climb to the top of a tree and take a picture of the view,” or “Record the sound that is keeping you awake.” The democratic nature of the project reveals two things that Fletcher seems to say with the work: Anything can be art, and anyone can do it.

Perhaps he’ll say even more about Learning to Love tonight at Watkins’ latest installment of their Visiting Artists Series. Expect a lively lecture about curatorial creativity, collaboration and community.

Watch him discuss the project with Miranda July in the clip after the jump.

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Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Notes from the 422nd Annual Wraiths for Writing Conference: Moonlight Scrying Class Part 2

Posted By on Wed, Mar 27, 2013 at 2:43 PM

Though I’ve never seen a proper, functioning well, with its picturesque ring of stacked stones and attending chapeau, I used to drink water from one at the last house I lived in. I guess it was because of the peculiar feeling of lost time I used to get after I finished brushing my teeth, or the way I’d sometimes perceive an unnatural shadow collecting at the foot of my bed on the nights I’d boiled water, that I was interested in taking the well-water scrying class.

Our instructress for the evening was Maeve Widdershins, a ghost well loved for her sprightly disposition, despite her uncertain status between here and the hereafter. Tonight, her normally bright and verdigris eyes were matte black, and when she began speaking, her characteristic chirrup had been replaced by a guttural whisper:

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Cahiers du Coco: L'Avventura

Posted By on Wed, Mar 27, 2013 at 8:53 AM

Join Ettes leader Coco Hames as she moves through the Janus Films Essential Art House DVD box set one film at a time.

L'AVVENTURA directed by MICHELANGELO ANTONIONI (1960)
Italian with English subtitles
Running time: 143 minutes

I'd kind of said to myself, I don't think it would be cool to get into the habit of saying anyone "HAS to see" any of these films, but I'll break my own rule immediately and say that about Antonioni's L'Avventura. Completely ineloquently. For several reasons, L'Avventura is one of the greatest movies the world has known. Not even just my opinion. Fact. From the haunting story (written in part by recently departed and Oscar-memorialized Tonino Guerra, who was an Italian concentration camp survivor and who also co-wrote Fellini's Amarcord) to the spooky and beautiful cinematography to the alien-level stunning Monica Vitti and the backdrop of the mountains and ocean and the Aeolian island on which it was filmed ... I think about this film every single day.

You might know director Michelangelo Antonioni from earlier neorealist work or his subsequent psychedelic films in English — Blow-Up (1966), Zabriskie Point (1969), The Passenger (1975) — but this is a good point to start knowin' you some Antonioni. The story goes like this: Some friends (and lovers) go out sailing, and one of them disappears. They look for her. Stuff happens. And doesn't happen.

L'Avventura is a groundbreaking film (I'll also try not to say "groundbreaking" too much, either, as it's redundant, considering the collection) in its exploration and expansion of what cinematic narrative had/has the potential to be. It is subtle, and it is long, but it's a work of art well worth watching; and it is an education, one without which I feel my personal movie life would be absolutely incomplete.

It is also the first of a trilogy: if you like L'Avventura, the subsequent La Notte (1961) and The Eclipse (1962) are related in style and substance. If you don't like L'Avventura — e.g., you find its journey through remarkable visual beauty and its study of modern ennui pretentious and boring — then you'll probably think everyone who likes L'Avventura is a snob and we all smell like dust and port (whatever port is).

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Tonight: Pictures of Fireworks at Fido's

Posted By on Wed, Mar 27, 2013 at 6:30 AM

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Corporate Juggernaut Presents: Pictures of Fireworks
When: 8 p.m. Wednesday, March 27
Where: Fido's

Ever since I discovered The Moth, the popular storytelling-show-turned-public-radio star, I’ve hoped that Nashville would land a similar show of its own. And what luck! The forward-thinkers at Corporate Juggernaut have made that dream come true with their monthly Pictures of Fireworks.

Not unlike The Moth, Pictures of Fireworks invites booked guests — often comedians, but also professors, bartenders and more — to tell their best stories on stage. Between each booked storyteller, audience members have an opportunity to tell their own stories. The only rules: you’ve got just five minutes, you can’t use notes and the story has to be true. Nobody wants to hear your Twilight fan fiction — take that nonsense to a Cafe Coco open mic. The show is free, with sign-up starting in the back room at 7:30.

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