Saturday, May 09, 2009

Priscilla Queen of the Desert

Watched Priscilla Queen of the Desert yestreen. Beth had seen it years ago and recommended it. I remember when it appeared and so had some sense of it. Three drag queens on a journey into the Australian Outback (i. e. Heart of Darkness), if indeed where they went was so named. It looked like Montana or South Dakota to me (who have been to neither), except more of.

Okay, so the three aforementioned must travel a significant distance to do a show. All three are at crucial points in their lives. I cannot remember the names of the characters so bear with me. The most flamboyant and outrageous of them is who I take to be the youngest. He is the one that got his mother to pay for the bus by which they make their journey. A brash fello

The character who is the dramatic focus is somewhat older. We learn that not only is he married, but he has a son. This is the crux of the movie.

The final character is played by Terrence Stamp. No one else in the movie is familiar to me. Stamp is older. He has just suffered the loss of a lover.

And there we are. They travel into the Outback on their bus, called Priscilla of the Desert, and bicker and have adventures. Stamp is the fulcrum. The other two are wacky and outrageous, while he is stately, which is a nice balance. It is a graceful, warm performance. The humour is at times goofy but the movie is genuinely warm-hearted without excess. Lots of ABBA, 70s disco, and the like.

* * *Spoiler Alert!!!* * *

Gatsby dies!!!

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

I listened to a presentation of The Psalms that I found on iTunes. It was a recording of an event in NYC in 2007. Forgive that I do not have the names of the participants in my head. It was like this: a new translator of the Psalms, and two people who read these translations and discussed them, plus some musical settings. I am no scholar of The Bible but have read it, as any curious, literate person might. The Psalms are certainly due for a rewrite, since the Elizabethan floridity of the King James version creates an entirely different experience for modern readers than for Jamesian contemporaries. Some of the Psalms were read in the original, and the experience of that--the sound, that is, I do not know Hebrew--certainly differs from the loping of King James. There were several good musical settings but one was embarrassing. It had a jarringly frisky piano accompaniment and the vocalists pushed the words forward with Broadway sincerity. Ouch! The words themselves should serve, they need not be impressed upon the auditor, but that is not how Broadway musicals roll. It was like Godspell or Jesus Christ Superstar, a collaboration with bolstered insincerity. There is this muddle that the religious aspect instigates, that you must read the Psalms with appropriate religious respect. I think treated as poetry, with the sanctity of poetry's implication, the Psalms resound more deeply. Appropriated, they sound like whingeing. In other lit news, I put my hand on The Third Policeman this morning and got sucked right in. Flann O'Brien is a wonder. I do not know that any of his novels are perfect, but the buoying intent is marvelous in every one. At Swim Two-Birds is exuberant to the point of pyrotechnic exhaustion (exhaustion, that is, on the reader's part). Dalkey Archives, I remember, had its wonders, ferlies, which I need to revisit. The Third Policeman is cinematic in its clear visual clues. The humour is a red shift, a kind of trail from some ordinary stance to an enveloping verity. O'Brien had a queer career, distracted from the assault in a way that Joyce, for one, was not. I would put O'Brien right alongside Joyce, as maybe Joyce would too. Wonderful.