I'm getting over quite a knock-out of a cold, meaning this long weekend is probably going to be spent somewhat conservatively. But one thing I really want to do is go see No Country for Old Men. It now takes movie-going precedence over the new Wes Anderson flick and American Gangster. Superficially, the most disturbing thing about it might be Javier Bardem's hair ("the haircut suggests a lost Beatle from hell"), especially since he is normally a rather god-like Spaniard. But the film itself looks like a great thriller--a stripped down, back-to-basics exercise in good movie-making. And Jeebus knows we could use more of those.
While confined to my room on one of my sick days this week, I realized, a full month later, that The Cake Sale was released. I am pleased. The whole album is streamed here and also available from iTunes. Lisa Hannigan's "Last Leaf", Glen Hansard's "Too Many People," and of course Josh Ritter's "Vapour Trail," are all phenomenal little pieces of aural wonderment. "Last Leaf" is simply gorgeous--really moving and the vocals are surprisingly assertive. After seeing Lisa Hannigan perform live with Damien Rice, I have a lot more respect for her--her voice was just as wonderful live as in-studio--she even nailed the opera vocals from "Eskimo Friend," which you may remember as being pretty epic. While I'm glad that she's branched off to do her own thing, I do hope that her creative relationship with Damien Rice hasn't completely dissolved--they make a good team. "Vapour Trail" (written by a member of Bell X1, hence "vapor" with the excess Brit-born "u"), is a warming, simple tune with a great sing-along-in-an-Irish-pub type chorus. And Glen Hansard (aka the long-lost Irish brother of Rachel's bf Mark), is quickly becoming a favorite musician of mine. I was never super crazy about the Frames (though to be fair, I've had only limited exposure to their stuff), but this solo/Marketa Irglova stuff he's been putting out has been really compelling.
I'm going to really nerd it up and say that "30 Rock" last night was, hands down, one of the best episodes yet. It was only after seeing the entire cast gathered together (along with a Harlem Globetrotter) that you realize that has never really happened before. I wish I could remember an especially hilarious line from last night's show, but they all spilled out of my head while I was convulsively laughing.
To round out this pinpoint of a microcosm of an informal post of contemporary culture, I'm currently reading The History of Love, written by Nicole Krauss, wife of one of my favorite writers, Jonathan Safran-Foer. If you had peeled the cover off, I would have guessed that it was written by JSF himself. Their prose is so similar, it's kind of"creepy," as my mom said. It has the same two-person narrative as Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close--one young, one old. It's riddled with Eastern European culture and Yiddish like Everything is Illuminated and the plot is also bound to a past tragedy. It utilizes the same sort of humor and form that he does... I haven't finished it yet, so I'll wait to see if it really is eerily similar to JSF's writing... But it really is.