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William C. Altreuter
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Saturday, October 10, 2020

Abigail Weinberg:

"Blood on the Tracks is the breakup album everyone talks about, the one Jakob Dylan has called “my parents talking,” the devastating story of a man whose wife leaves him unexpectedly one night, and his only recourse is to wail about it for 51 minutes. But I realized, upon listening to the album recently, that I had been so blinded by Dylan’s brilliance that I had totally overlooked Sara’s side of the story: The man was probably absolutely insufferable to live with."

Joan Baez still speaks of him fondly, but Joan Baez is pretty close to being a saint. Suze Rotolo's A Freewheeling Time is affectionate and forgiving. That said, the character(s) in Blood on the Tracks would cetainly be pretty hard to take. I suppose the same could be said of many artists, of course: the fact of their self-absorbtion is, after all, why they believe that their  work has meaning. 


Tuesday, September 22, 2020

 A bit more on Stanley Crouch: Christgau on Kansas City Lightening. It really is a great book. Also, a fond remembrance by Ethan Iverson.

 

 


Sunday, September 20, 2020

 In its obituary for Stanley Crouch last week the NYTimes mentioned his essay in Jazz Times called "Putting the White Man in Charge" in which Crouch argued that white critics promote white musicans in order to "make themselves feel more comfortable about being in the role evaluating an art form from which they feel substantially alienated." I've been thinking about that and I am at a loss to think of a white critic of whom that could fairly be said. Nat Hentoff? Gary Giddins? Ira Gitler? Orrin Keepnews? That jazz is an art form invented by Black musicians is indisputable, as is the fact that it is an expression of the best of American aspiration. Certainly it is true that it has been appropriated and diluted  from time to time, but I'm troubled by Crouch's apparent belief that the form can only be shared and appreciated by only certain people. 


Wednesday, September 16, 2020

All law firms break up for the same reason.  Cellino & Barnes. Cellino & Barnes.


Friday, September 11, 2020

 There are some actors that there just isn't enough of. Last night I watched a movie with two of them. Moved by Dianna Rigg's death I wanted to watch an episode of The Avengers, but Amazon Prime, where the show can be found, told me that they are "Not Available At This Time", so I watched The Hospital instead. I am fond of The Hospital which also stars George C. Scott. There's a lot that dates it (the exoticization of Native Americans is troubling, e.g.) but the main thing that is wrong with it is also it's greatest strength: it was written by Paddy Chayefsky. (In fact, he won one of his three Academy Awards for the screenplay.) What this means is that every few minutes everything stops while one of the main characters delivers a scenery chewing monologue. In fairness, they are damn good scenery chewing monologues, and if you are going to have a movie constructed around such it's a fine thing to have George C. Scott and Dianna Rigg delivering them. Damn, they were great. 

One further thought on Dame Rigg: everyone all over the internet was writing about how sexy she was, which is true, and how they had huge crushes on her, which I certainly did, but I haven't really seen anyone talk about why she was sexy. She was the model of a self-assured, intelligent person is why.


Tuesday, September 08, 2020

 Ray Acito used to say that he'd never had a witness go bad on him, but that there had been times when he had failed to prepare them adequately. Joseph Kelner used to spend hours and days preparing his clients. People think that trials are performances, and they are, in a way, but they are also a demonstration of authenticity for the sake of the jury. This piece, by Janet Malcom, does a nice job of laying that out.


Wednesday, August 19, 2020

 I suppose I should put together a bug-out bag.


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