SHORT CUTS: Before I get into the post, I am so jazzed the advertisement is now gone from the top of my blog. There is now a nifty navigation bar that will let you search for blogs, set up your own, etc. I hated those damn ads, esp. when they started promoting sham poetry contests and books by Republican prom queen, Ann Coulter. Icky, patooey, blech! The new nav bar is a short cut...and that's what this blog was going to be about in the first place.

The Short Cuts I'm talking about is Robert Altman's film from the early 1990s starring just about every actor working at the time: Julianne Moore, Lili Taylor, Tim Robbins, Anne Archer, Madeline Stowe, Lori Singer, Lily Tomlin, Andie McDowell, Bruce Davison, Jack Lemmon, Lyle Lovett, Tom Waits, Robert Downey Jr., Chris Penn, Jennifer Jason Leigh and the amazing Annie Ross. For some fucked up reason, the film has never been released on DVD in America. Luckily, I have a multi-region player and Short Cuts has been released in Europe. It came in the mail today and I had no plans to sit down and watch it, since the film is three hours long, but I did. I love this movie so much. This is definitely Andie McDowell's best role...it proved to me she could act. She has the powerful scene where she verbally and physcially attacks Lyle Lovett after her son has died and it's so real and visceral that it always brings tears to my eyes.

The film is an incredible snapshot of LA in the early 90s when helicopters were flying nightly raining poison down to kill the med flies (remember that?!) and everyone was scared they were going to get cancer. Short Cuts and Lawrence Kasdan's Grand Canyon (another masterpiece) colored my perception of LA. I have to admit that I am fascinated with Southern California and how the people live there. It felt almost as alien to me as London the first time I visited there. Watching Short Cuts again tonight made me eager to get back out to LA and plunge back in and see what makes it tick, to see if I can synch myself to that pace of living. Maybe it's just my love of big sprawling cities and my love of learning the lay of the land. I've got London memorized so well, that I can navigate it as well as Atlanta. I can also tell you how to get around Paris if you ever need directions. I'm learning NYC, too.

Seeing the film again also brought back a great memory of seeing Annie Ross in concert in London in 1996 with my pal Merci Howe. It was just a coincidence that I noticed Ross was at Pizza On The Park in their jazz room. We caught her second show and she was amazing. She came and sat at our table, signed my CD and she sang "To Hell With Love," the them song from Short Cuts. Of course anyone who saw my early readings for Better To Travel knows that "To Hell With Love" was the opening number performed by the always faboo Jennifer Perry Combo. Since it's the one-year anniversary of Better To Travel I guess I'm just feeling a bit nostalgic. Call me sentimental.

Over the weekend, I attended the Georgia Literary Festival down in Columbus. I got to chat with my pal and fellow poet Tania Rochelle and her groovy daughter, Sadie, who's going to be a great poet herself one day. I sold some books, talked with Janice Daugharty, made some contacts for future events, etc. It was fun, but I was pooped. I spent Sunday resting and chilling out and listening to Annie Ross. Then the DVD showed up in the mail. Hearing Annie Ross sing, watching one of my fave films...these kind of things ground me, focus me, and remind me why I chose to pursue a life in the arts in the first place. I leave you with a bit of Annie...

I like to sleep when night comes
and laugh every day,
but when you're in love,
it just doesn't work that way.
To hell with love...

Comments

Teamaster said…
SHORT CUTS is splendid! The stylistic predessesor to P.T. Anderson's MAGNOLIA and others (though not as intense and tragic). Lyle Lovett's cameo is great. Chris Penn's infrequent film roles is puzzling, as I suspect he could sustain a dramatic career almost as notable as his brother's.
Anonymous said…
Damn it! I have to get an all region player. You always get all the good shit I can't see.

TJ

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