perverse_idyll: (candles)
( Apr. 30th, 2011 09:15 pm)
I just saw [ profile] cesperanza's post about Joanna Russ's death. I am way more upset about this than I would have expected. I'm actually sitting here crying over the news. Damn it. Damn it. I never got a chance to tell her how much she meant to me, how much I loved her work, how absolutely brilliant I thought she was, how no one wrote stories like she did, how she helped shape who I am. She's always been a necessary part of my world; in the background, of course, because I didn't know her personally, but essential and irreplaceable to me. A one-sided long-distance love affair.

Oh man, this sucks. She hasn't even written much in the last 20 years, but I already miss her like blazes.

Thank you, Joanna. For your incisive eye and inimitable voice and your unflinching ability to cut through bullshit. For your intensity and breathtaking smarts and love of women. For your ability to make me laugh out loud. I'm glad you existed; I can't even imagine the void it would have left in my youth if there had been no you. It makes me desperately unhappy that there's no possibility now of further books from your hand. I hate it that you're dead. I hope you're at peace.

perverse_idyll: (Default)
( Oct. 24th, 2009 11:06 pm)
I am so jazzed right now, I don't know how I'm going to get to sleep. I just returned from worshipping at the feet of listening to Stephen Sondheim, composer and lyricist of Sweeney Todd, Sunday in the Park with George, and A Little Night Music (among other brilliant musicals) give a moderated talk at our local arts center.

Read more... )
So, when I was about twelve, there was a PBS station dedicated to showing classic movies on Sunday afternoons, and their definition of "classic" didn't stop short with "Hollywood flicks from the 1930s and 40s." It was on this station that I first saw Kurosawa's The Seven Samurai, an experience which turned my little middle-class barely pubescent world upside-down.

It was also my first exposure to the silent, silvery-grey elegance and beauty and breathtaking delight that I have always and will forever associate with Buster Keaton. To this day I can remember the sensation of falling through the screen into pure, exalted, flabbergasted, all-embracing love. I was in thrall, and I've remained there with respect to Keaton for pretty much the rest of my life. We're talking forty years ago, people, and a love affair that has never faltered and never failed to give me joy. It's one of those fannish experiences we all yearn for and celebrate.

I'm speaking, of course, of Keaton's own films. I've seen a tiny sampling of the dreck he performed in once he lost his creative independence. I will spare you my rant on the subject. The contrast is painful to the point of being excruciating. I've also read about 95% of everything written or translated into English regarding Buster, and while some of it is wonderful and thought-provoking (Rudi Blesh's biography of Keaton, Walter Kerr's assessement in The Silent Clowns), some is ludicrously academic or just plain dull (e.g. do not throw your money away on the recently published, utterly pedestrian waste of paper Buster Keaton: Tempest in a Flat Hat, which has nothing new or interesting to say and says it as shallowly as possible. The author's pronouncement that one of Buster's best movies was simply "tired" finally made me fling it across the room.)

Well. I just finished reading a marvelous, intelligent, fannishly joy-filled book that fed every starved particle of Keaton admiration I possess. And the thing that knocked me on my arse? I could have written it.

No, really. )

ETA: forgot to mention for dial-up users, images under the cut!


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