2017-06-30

sovay: (Lord Peter Wimsey: passion)
The prevailing mode of this month has been exhausting suck and every time I look at the news it's gone on fire in a different direction (like the latest iteration of the travel ban), so here are some things that are currently making me happpy:

1. My poems "If it will help you think of me as Sappho" and "אש לבנה חרותה באש שחורה" have been accepted by Blossomry, a new monthly magazine of one-line poetry. I had never tried my hand at the monostich before. Fragments of archaic Greek poetry came obviously to mind. The Hebrew title of the second means "white fire engraved with black fire" and is a third-century Talmudic description of the Torah which in characteristic fashion I encountered first in the science fiction of Phyllis Gotlieb. The reading period for Blossomry's debut issue is still open for publication in mid-to-late July, so if you have any one-line poems on LGBTQIA+ themes—or if you feel like writing some—send them along! I do not say this just because I'm quoted in their guidelines.

2. Aside from the dancing, which is wonderful, I think the thing I like best about Vincente Minnelli's The Band Wagon (1953) is a point that was made to me recently by a friend who is not on Dreamwidth: there really is no villain. There's an antagonist in the form of Jack Buchanan's Jeffrey Cordova, the triple-threat actor-director-producer whose high-minded enthusiasms turn him into as much of a Mephistopheles as the character he's supposed to be playing in the fun little musical comedy he's overhauled into a Faustian extravaganza, but he's not an enemy of the arts, he's a devotee who's run full tilt in the wrong direction from everything his cast and crew are actually good at, and when he recognizes this fact he reverses course and becomes their ally. His turn is accomplished gracefully, too, without need for further crestfalling than out-of-town tryouts so disastrous that the backers try to slink back to town without being noticed and the chorus gather in a hotel room to drown their sorrows in takeout pizza and beer ([personal profile] spatch noted that some things never change) and Cordova has the opportunity to overhear his star delivering an ultimatum that he decides to accept, with pleasantly good grace and much less declamation than usual: "I got carried away . . . You've got to be the boss, Tony. I think you can pull this off brilliantly—and I'd like to be part of it." I can't remember ever seeing Buchanan before, probably because The Band Wagon is his best-known movie in this country and certainly the easiest to get hold of; he could be mistaken for a lankier Rex Harrison, especially around the eyebrows, but very much unlike Harrison, Buchanan even in his mid-sixties retained the light feet and cut-glass croon of his days as a debonair song-and-dance man of music hall and revues and not a few movies and he more than holds his own with Fred Astaire, so The Band Wagon sent me off to YouTube in search of his past. I found a number of clips from movies whose plots I'm not even going to try to construe and a delightful 1930 Vitaphone short that looks like a filmed stage routine: a last-minute fill-in for a glee quartet goes catchily, terrifically wrong. I was puzzled by the partial familiarity of "Everything Stops for Tea" until I saw that Professor Elemental had recorded a version a few years ago, which probably explains it. If I can arrange for July to suck less than June, I'll see him in Ernst Lubitsch's Monte Carlo (1930). Jack Buchanan, I mean. Not Professor Elemental. That would be weird.

3. I hope this song becomes an album, because I would buy it: Buffy Sainte-Marie & Tanya Tagaq, "You Got to Run (Spirit of the Wind)."

Tonight I met [personal profile] phi for a cooking experiment—molokhiya out of Claudia Roden's The Book of Jewish Food: An Odyssey from Samarkand to New York (1996)—and it was kind of a failure, almost certainly due to making it with dried, powdered molokhiya rather than the fresh leaves, but it was fun and we ate the chicken part of the recipe and next week we are going to attempt kofte with sour cherry sauce, which should at least not have the failure mode of smelling like henna. Right now, I think my dehydration headache and I are going to try watching a movie and heading to bed.
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