In May of 1981 O and I drove up to New York City to see a "new music festival" at Carnegie Hall. His girl friend Nora, a dancer, was part of the last act: the Steve Reich orchestra performing his "Octet" with their modern ballet accompaniment. Phillip Glass opened the show, playing solo on a large organ. The only other acts I recall were Merideth Monk's vocal wailing; and David Van Tieghem, who did amazing rhythmic things with a table full of kitchenware, in duet with a tape (also his music, presumeably) - he was kinda out of control at the end of his performance. The minimalist, repetitive sounds composed by Phillip Glass and Steve Reich are sometimes called "trance music" - it drives some listeners crazy. Reich's "Music For 18 Musicians" was the first I knew, heard in the background of early works by Joe Frank.
"Koyanisqaatsi (Life Out Of Balance)" is the most well-known film by Godfrey Reggio. I call it a "World's Fair" movie because it's the sort of experimental film one might see at an Expo pavilion. No dialogue, no plot; just images with strong music make a point. In his case he tampers subtly with reality by modifying the film speeds; and the soundtracks are provided by Phillip Glass. "Powaqqatsi (Life in Transformation)" is the next film in a trilogy. (The IMDB says the third, "Noyaqqatsi (Life In A State Of War)", is to be finally released next year.)
I'm still absorbing "Powaqqatsi" - last night I finished watching this library videotape; I'll be studying it some more since the due date's not for three weeks. I guess I'm more receptive now than when I first saw the film in 1988. Then I was only mildly impressed; Koy had an impact Pow lacked. Koy has lots of sped-up imagery of modern environments; Pow has lots of slowed-down views from the Third and Fourth Worlds. Now I find the latter fascinating - but I wish there was some method for identification <1>. Like the unrelated but similar "Baraka", I want to know where they're filming; who are these people dancing in their dazzlingly colorful outfits; and what's going on? Why is that immense crowd of people doing strip mining manually? What's their motivation? Watching them toil in slow motion really got painful in the cinema; I suppose that was the point. Towards the end of the film the images are coming fast & furious, mostly it's just people, people, people - humanity in motion.
After the movie I felt giddy with possibility - I actually could make like Phineas Fogg and take a trip around the world. I could, I can, I should - with a laptop in my backpack to record what happens, and the occasional upload to this site to record my progress. Preparing for such a trip in just two months may be unrealistic, but stay tuned. (I could really use a stateside patron to handle stuff like my taxes; perhaps I could persuade my Uncle Happy to do this.) Acquiring a laptop by then, just for the Europe trip as it now stands, is a goal I can attain - and wouldn't you love to read dispatches from the road? The real soul-searing ego question is, do I want to go around the world, or do I just want to tell people I've gone around the world? If so I should just stay in Europe, the hassle's not worth it.
I'm enjoying my tape-harvest of the various different arrangements of "Anthem" found in "Powaqqatsi". In "The Truman Show", this is the music heard just after his radio acts up, when he's starting to finally realize that something enormous is going on, and, fantastically, he's at the center of it! <2> Later it's heard again when all of Sea Haven's out walking the streets, searching.
Y2K SpotlightThe Washington Post concludes a three-part series about remediation today. The DC government, to nobody's surprise, is way behind on the problem. Quotes from today's article, by Eric Lipton:
The District's current plan involves replacing almost every major computer system in the next 17 months, while simultaneously repairing older systems in case the replacement computers are not ready in time... Last month, the District hired IBM to find and repair flaws in up to 30 million lines of software code. Complicating the task is enduring uncertainty over whether the District has saved copies of the original "source code" -- a recipe of sorts used to create the instructions that run various computer systems."Of sorts"? "Last month"? My brain reels.
Despite the work remaining, officials voice confidence that there will not be major breakdowns in city services come Jan. 1, 2000.What do you expect them to say, Eric? Lord, deliver us from naïve reporters. It's okay to be skeptical! At work today we were informed that some more people will be placed in our trailer soon - no more will it be the roomy refuge we've grown accustomed to. As my coworker-supervisor said, "There goes the neighborhood!" It's transient anyway; in a month or two the project moves back into the real building from whence it came. This building, which is directly across the street from the military gym (the one I prefer) is being renovated. With the treadmill (or what E calls the "Dreadmill") in such close proximity, perhaps I can ratchet up my working-out attendance to daily, rather than every other. Alternatively, it may become overrun with my fellow workers, forcing my flight to a less well-known venue.
I've decided to pay the low monthly fee to the company which hosts this web-site. Certain benefits come with joining GeoPlus, among which are an easy-to-remember URL (www.geocities.com/~rasch) and no more ad banners - a service enhancement for you, my loyal readers. Also I made a slight adjustment to the Who's Who page today - E (with whom I'm communicating almost daily) gets her own, true letter, and my nephew gets the M, which was never used as I originally intended.
IBM - International Business Machines
IMDB - Internet Movie Data Base
URL - Uniform Resource Locator
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<1> Perhaps the laser disk has a bonus,
alternate soundtrack, like some do? The kind where the
director describes his film as it unrolls.
<2> Ending at the elevator scene in the lobby. Back