Thursday, December 22, 2005

So it's December 22nd, ten days until 2006, but I was laying in bed reviewing my year, and so the year-in-review post can be made. Perhaps this is jumping the gun: When I made my 2005 mix CD, I had yet to hear that Why album which I'm now calling one of my favorites.

But tomorrow I go for an eye exam, and new glasses will be found. We could call this post, 2005 - The Year My Glasses Broke, a reference to that movie, The Year My Voice Broke, that I haven't seen and don't even have in the Netflix queue.

Basically a bad year. I had pinned some hope for redemption onto it- The plan was to return to the East coast, then go up to New York City, see Evie Nelson, and maybe this would magically improve everything. I got to New York, made a call, found out she was in Brooklyn, I went to Brooklyn, made a call, found out she was specifically in the part of Brooklyn known as Greenpoint, went to Greenpoint, the corner of Greenpoint and Manhattan Avenue, made a call, and before I could find out specifically where we stood in relation to one another, her phone died, and I returned to New Jersey with my nose running like it had been all day.

In the days between then and now, my nose has stopped running. It started running just shortly before I left Olympia, so it's not like that was the defining aspect of my year.

The defining aspect of my year, basically, was that it sucked, economically. Jobs fell through or were horrible scams, loans and offers of money also fell through. Class stuff fell apart and I was left with nothing much to do except for write fiction, listen to music, and watch movies.

I saw a lot of movies this year- Alex got a Netflix queue, I took a film class, went to a film festival, and started learning how to be a projectionist at the Capitol Theatre.

The best movie of the year was 3-Iron. I kept on calling it transcendent, kept on thinking about how transcendence is the best thing a film can aspire to. But really- any film that's entertaining is transcendent, since it allows you to think of something else for awhile. It takes you somewhere outside of your own problems. This is true for any good piece of art, essentially. Entertainment is distraction, and distraction is basically all we want.

3-Iron was transcendent, the movie of the year, and truly great art, it how it lingered. Pretty much as soon as I saw it, I knew it was the movie of the year, so I kept it with me, in the back of my mind, and it served as something to think about even when I wasn't watching it.

Comicswise- The stuff I read and enjoyed was more on the arty end than the entertainment end. Like, Anders Nilsen's Big Questions and Kevin Huizenga's Or Else comics- those were good. But for, like, inner calm, more than what I want out of comics, which I mostly didn't get- Michael Kupperman was funny, and Scott Pilgrim volume 2 was awesome and some fistpumping adrenalizing grin-inducing fun but most of what I read, I regretted not going through with that whole "stop reading comics" idea I had.

But whatever, my argument about transcendence and entertainment is basically a supporting argument to my long-held thesis about the distinction between high and low art being bullshit so I guess I shouldn't be too bothered.

But as for this year in review focusing on art- that was the good part of the year. That and the people, my friends, I can't sell them short. But so much of the bonding happened over music and film that I find it hard to oversell that stuff.

Most movies I saw and liked I either made my friends see or we watched them together. So when I talk about how I saw two bad-ass movies Orson Welles made, know that Alex Tripp was in the room both times, and liked them just as much, if not more, than I did. (The Trial and F For Fake- amazing)

Dude was also there for hours of Twin Peaks on video cassette, Little Murders, and a great deal of other things. I saw Mind Game with him, along with Loren and Evan. And I argued for The Wicker Man so more people saw it, and I talked up 3-Iron to people as well.

Music was pretty much the same deal- Loren Thor came through with the new Deerhoof album when I was internet-free, and then we went to Seattle to see them, the day after we saw the Go! Team. I already posted a best music of the year list, and now you can see what webzines are running and how wrong they are.

There was no music and no movies when I was living with Atlanta and Mikako, those few weeks, but they kept me alive. There was no transcendence then, just the feeling of being in the shit and feeling it. I don't want to downplay that either- The sun on my neck and walking back and forth.

Much in the same way that I kept 3-Iron in my head, once I heard Feels, that enriched some shit- pretty much anytime I was around nature, I was whooping up those songs in my head.

And I did some writing this year- finishing up short stories (thanks to all who read them and liked them, once again, holy shit) and trying to start something larger. The year started with that independent contract, and yeah, that went well.

The film class that followed- There was that festival, which I dreaded, and very rarely saw anything good- aside from 3-Iron- but being in Seattle, you know, peers and friendships and whatnot- that was the feeling it, that was the thing I was in.

So much more in it, feeling it, when basically homeless and relying on a stranger's kindness, and walking around a landscape rather than inside.

Inside is, as ever, the goddamn internet, which aside from music stealing, is the bad kind of distraction.

But let me tell you a conversation I had. I argued on behalf of irony- not the "look at my mustache, it is one generally seen on one with less education than I possess," but the good kind. It's the kind of argument where- I don't want to be seen as one of the mustache kids, but I do want to be seen as one of the funny kids, and I don't want to be an over-earnest emo asshole. And there was talk about how irony was basically killing society, getting in the way of honest expression, and I made an argument which was mostly ignored.

Basically- the way I use irony/humor, it's not a distancing technique. It's basically- if conversation is an art, than humor is a metaphor, a lens. What Charlie Kaufman does in Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind, is dressing stuff up in this sci-fi clothing, to get at what he means, because it can't be done in a more direct way. And in conversation- there's no science fiction there. There's just jokes, but... If it's not quite the same thing, it's damn close.

And from a literary or creative perspective- the line between deadpan absurdism and magic realism is mostly one of intent, not so much a distinction of technique, a conclusion I came to watching that episode of Stella where they start a farm in the floorboards of their apartment. And deadpan absurdism is fucking hilarious, and magic realism is awesome. I could further make the argument that the personality equivalent of magic realism is basically being dedicated to awesomeness.

(Oh, you know what was great, this year- Getting into the Best Show On WFMU. I might have heard the Timmy Von Trimble bit before, and some other stuff, but this year I actually dove into the archives and the whole bit.)

(I feel the need to clarify that when I talk about magic realism so fucking much, I'm not talking particularly about Marquez- who I first read this year!- because I'm not the biggest fan of his and I wish he'd push the weirdness/magic further- but rather, other people who I associate with creating good art.)

And a dedication to awesomeness, you know, that's the thing to strive for. That's my aim.

I hope I ring in the new year something fierce. I've never done that, and that's probably not going to change this year. Being home for the holidays... Bleh. Fine for Christmas, but for New Years, I find it antithetical to what I want.

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