Friday, March 9, 2012

To Those Who Wait

Organ. Trombone. Saucy redhead.   Pair with soul-stirring performances of  insightful music and you have the experience that is Ruby Friedman Orchestra.  I first saw RFO at the Bordello Bar in downtown over 2 years ago.  I fell in love immediately.  Being transported by raw and penetrating verse can do that to a girl.

Last week I went to see RFO perform at The Hotel Cafe on the eve of their entry into the studio to record their debut album.  It was a stripped-down acoustic set that packed a full Ruby punch.

The fact that they still have not released an album has been a source of consternation for me since that night at the Bordello.  Every time I check their Facebook page I gasp, "Still?!?!"  When will they appease the frothing masses? (Read: the frothing me.)  Apparently, Summer 2012.  They are waiting until 6 months before the end of the world to release their debut album.  Honey badger doesn't give a shit. (Ruby would be the honey badger in this scenario.)

I have heard that good things come to those who wait.  In this instance, I'm inclined to believe it.  Here's a little something from last week's show to hold us over.

Like Ruby and the boys on Facebook.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Melancholy for Melancholia

I like reading up on the Oscars to see all the pretty dresses.  I often internally contest the worthiness of the nominees and ultimately I don't care who wins.  Billy Crystal hit the nail on the head when he called the Academy out for the ridiculousity of millionaires giving each other gold trophies.  I may have added the ridiculous part, but it was implied.

That being said, how did Melancholia get completely ignored?  Seriously.  Melancholia was my favorite movie of the year, followed closely by Midnight in Paris, which also got much less attention than the big winner, The Artist.  I saw The Artist and enjoyed it but, in my opinion both Melancholia and Midnight in Paris had much, much more to offer.

I saw Melancholia twice in the theater and could have seen it twice more.  I found it beautiful, original, and impactful.  I've always been a fan of sensationalist end-of-the-world movies, but this affected me in a much different way because it did not take the usual "panic in the streets" approach.  There was a sense of dread permeating the entire film, but it was tempered with a calm that arose partially out of the solitude of the characters. Melancholia perfectly blended depression and dread with beauty and acceptance. Every time I think about Melancholia, the feelings I had in the theater immediately return almost like sensory memories.

The film opens as an opera would with an overture.  The haunting music is from Wagner's opera Tristan and Isolde and plays over a montage of ultra slow-motion, almost still-frame shots that foreshadow the coming events of the film.

Both Kirsten Dunst and Charlotte Gainsbourg were wonderful in the film, but I found Gainsbourg especially so.  She conveyed the internal conflict of the character brilliantly.  Gainsbourg, the daughter of Serge Gainsbourg, is - like her father - a musician as well as an actor.  I leave you with a song...