05 June 2006

titles are so constraining, don't you think?

as you may have noticed, if you actually look at my sidebar*, i've finished black swan green. actually finished it a few days ago, but it was one of those books that so got into my head, and so affected me afterwards, that i needed to take a couple days of breather before starting my next book (miss misery, by andy "that hot guy on the career panel" greenwald). david mitchell is a fantastic writer. one of the best i've ever read. but, after reading two of his books (his two most recently written, in case we think this is a maturity thing), i've yet to see him manage a completely satisfactory narrative. part of this is due to his (much-spoken-of) postmodernism - neither black swan green nor cloud atlas uses a traditional narrative arc. not at all. but i don't think that has to mean no sense of closure. (black swan green had almost too neat an ending, but funny how that can leave you with the same unresolved feeling.)

i'm not looking for traditional catharsis, nor a neat tying up of ends. but it is possible to use an episodic or otherwise non-traditional plot structure and still have an ending that feels like an ending, still leave the reader feeling... satisfied. that's the word that keeps coming to mind. matthew derby does it in super flat times. i'm sure other people - other edgy, postmodern, nontraditional people - have done it, too. david mitchell's probably a better writer than most of them. does he really want me feeling ever-so-slightly unsatisfied every time i finish one of his books?

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recent museuming: the met, on saturday. a rainy weekend afternoon, and the place was practically deserted. completely mysterious. checked out a few of the special exhibits - anglomania: tradition and transgression in british fashion. if you remember the times review, which for some reason i do, it was dead on. the clothes are gorgeous - elaborate period dress, raucous punk ensembles, contemporary clothes inspired by and deconstructing traditional english garb. a clever setting, right in the museum's british period rooms. but, unfortunately, way too crowded - with mannequins, that is. eight to ten in a room, and very poorly labeled. i usually love costume shows at the met for their densely academic labeling. this exhibit followed form in having one explanatory paragraph per room, but they were typed so small and located so poorly that they were just impractical to read. (the lighting was also, i assume for preservation reasons?, quite dim.) fantastic clothes but not a fantastic set-up - i'd hate to have been there when the museum was actually busy.

also saw girodet: romantic rebel (great paintings, and with a somehow modern feel to them - something about the opacity of shapes, the brightness of colors) and kara walker (fantastic - gorgeous work, and somehow, surprisingly, not beat-you-over-the-head with ideology - maybe the artistic quality of the work keeps it from being all Message and Moral? whatever it is, it works).

* * *

saved from languishing in the netflix pile forever: we don't live here anymore. wish i had just sent it back two months ago. very disappointing. if a character spends three quarters of a movie having an affair and generally being a closed-off dickhead to his wife, i just won't be able to go there if the movie expects me to care that he's all distraught when his wife starts sleeping with his friend.

* * *

coming soon: satellites at the public (will i or won't i embarrass james and john as i leap onto the stage to profess my undying love for sandra oh?), the tonys (will i or won't i decide to be an antisocial freak?), and suddenly not a single play on my schedule after that. and you can look forward to: some writing on the lack of rush tickets for faith healer and how this negatively impacts my chances of seeing it, as well as meditations on the general philosophy of rush tickets, such as is it more important to have rush tickets for shows like this than for splashy musicals and other artistically thin fare? or maybe not some writing on that, since i seem to have just written it there.

also coming soon: things to ruin: the songs of joe iconis at ars nova. a temporary theatre thing. tickets on sale soon, and i promise, i'll tell you when.


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*unlike my subtitle up there, which gets absolutely zero lovin.

3 comments:

Jeremy said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Jeremy said...

Is your subtitle an allusion, an original, something else?

Jaime said...

the subtitle's a lyric from [title of show] which i guess i'm the only one dork enough to remember. but at least it's not really a profession of my intentions to do that to someone, right?

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