I'll try to run down some of the week's high and lowlights. I got sick Thursday evening, apparently with the thing that Kim had two weeks ago and Skylar last week. Except that now Kim and Skylar are getting sick again. I swear, Tucson is not a healthy place for the respiratory system. Unless, that is, it's the middle of the monsoon. Kim and I were talking today about how crazy it is that people here -- that dreaded phrase "native Tucsonan" -- complain about the monsoon. Haven't they noticed that people are healthier then? It's SO obvious at Skylar's pre-school. The minute the humidity dropped -- some 10 days ago -- all the kids started to get sick. Sure, the monsoon does generate sinus pressure headaches in the morning, mounting in force as the heat builds. But when the rains do finally come it's like an orgasm for the landscape and the mind.
Not realizing that I was coming down with a real malady, I went to the Mogwai show with Sean Thursday night at the Rialto. I was really zoned from the bug and general exhaustion, but Mogwai was great. It's nice to hear a band that can do loud and soft equally well. It's one of the things I love about faves like Pavement, Sonic Youth, and, yes, I'll admit, The Cure. My good friend Steven Rubio has some interesting comments about Sonic Youth on his blog. Scroll down to the entry for "Rockers over 50" from 9/18/03. I read Steven regularly with great pleasure and aspire to emulate his blog, once I get this ritual ingrained. For a real treat, you can read his comments on Johnny Cash from 9/12/03. I've always thought that Steven writes the best obits.
Anyway, Steven admits that Sonic Youth was never really his thing. But Sonic Youth is TOTALLY my thing. Even though I'm more of a Pavement fan, it's Sonic Youth, the Pixies, and Throwing Muses that really changed my life, as a freshperson in college.
Discovering those bands laid the groundwork for everything that came later. I was thinking about all this because we listened to the Lost in Translation soundtrack today -- the movie opens here next week, but is already playing in NYC and L.A. -- which has several new songs -- or fragments, to use a more accurate word -- by Kevin Shields, the alternative music era's "reclusive genius" a la Brian Wilson, who hasn't put out an album since 1991, when his band My Bloody Valentine released the amazing _Loveless_. Sofia Coppola deserves an award just for getting Kevin Shields to let go of something and make it public. It's a great soundtrack, beyond the Shields/MBV angle and I'm looking forward to the movie.
I happened to turn on the TV Friday --
(My goodness, I'm listening to Mass in German, from some church north of Hamburg, on the German International Service, Deutsche Welle. Bizarre.)
-- and saw Charlie Rose interviewing Sofia Coppola about her new movie. The scene from it they showed looked good. I like comic actors in "serious" roles. Bill Murray seems perfect for this character. Sofia is obviously both guarded and smart. You have to give it to Francis, though: his kids seem to have turned out well. I really liked Roman Coppola's film _CQ_. Had no desire to see _The Virgin Suicides_ when it played in theaters, but saw it tonight with Kim -- who had seen it at the Metreon with Sami -- and really liked it a lot. She liked it a lot better this time too.
The best things about the film were A) its tone, simultaneously ironic and sympathetic; B) its pacing, not too fast; C) the fact that all the teens, male and female, came off as smart and interesting; D) the languid cinematography; and E), most of all, the way it sets you up at the end, so you forget the title and don't expect the tragic end when it sneaks up on you.
That was a long tangent. Anyway, having Kevin Shields on the brain got me musing on my preference for music that creates a "field" in which a variety of things happen. I realize this is hard to describe and perhaps stupidly obvious. But I really love it when a piece of music makes you aware of the frame, the outer limit of the composition at the same time as it gives you melody or other pleasures in the sonic middle. Sonic Youth is great at doing that. So is Shields. So is Richard Wagner, for that matter, though I'm not much of Wagner fan.
Mogwai did a pretty good job of creating that "sense of field" on Thursday night.
Before they came on stage, I talked for a while with a guy who had recognized my Dead Moon T-Shirt. He had lived in Portland for a while, said it was strange to see a local band displayed proudly so far away. Turned out he was an Army Corps of Engineers hyrdrologist, who had been sent to the U of A for a semester to brush up on some aspect of his possession. We talked about watercourses, flooding, and the monsoon. He has only been in Tucson for a few weeks and remarked something I noticed when I first moved here, which is that people in other states think you're being pretentious or crazy when you talk about the monsoon, even though everyone here uses it completely naturally.
It's nice that we still have those regionalisms.
Also, ich muss ins Bett!