March 15, 2004

My New Filing Technique Is Unstoppable

Looking back over my week I see that I did little but watch DVDs. The first, on Tuesday night, was Fellini's Amarcord, a series of vignettes about a town in fascist Italy. The director gently skewers his characters, but the movie never grows too mean-spirited. Even if this is not straight autobiography, it is not hard to picture Fellini as the young boy biting his tongue to keep his sexual fantasies from the priest during confession. Nina Rota's music underscores the film, contributing to the sense of nostalgia.

The weather around these here parts has been terribly gorgeous, so Wednesday Aimee and I were inspired to do date night in the city: dinner on the Haight and then David Rees at the Booksmith. Rees was there to promote his new book My New Filing Technique Is Unstoppable, and he didn't let the meager crowd stop him from waxing hilarious about temporary employment, databases, filing cabinets, and slide rules, all the while throwing in sideways quips about Dubya. It's good to have this man on our side.

Thursday night's DVD was De Palma's 1973 film Sisters. On the one hand, he does some really nifty stuff with split screens and with a forced memory sequence. On the other hand, he really doesn't hide his dislike of women. All of the female characters come to poor ends. Bernard Herrmann's score tells you exactly when to hide your eyes, though if you don't look you'll miss the terrifically awful slasher special effects. The blood is orange and it oozes like ketchup.

I had to bathe the cat on Saturday for the second time in three weeks, and afterwards I collapsed exhausted in front of Godard's Alphaville and let it flow over me. Alphaville is a dystopian city full of mind control and seductresses (third class), and Lemmy Caution has been sent there from the Outerlands on a secret mission. The film is very '60s French where nonsense sometimes masquerades as real dialogue, but it was fun to see Godard play with the stereotypes of pulp fiction and to watch his camera make love to the beautiful ladies, especially Anna Karina.

Sunday evening I made my way to 826 Valencia to celebrate the launch of Happy Baby, the new book by Stephen Elliott. The crowd was decidedly McSweeney's and I was feeling distinctly unpartnered so when it appeared no actual reading of the book was imminent I beat a hasty retreat. Not before stopping to admire their window display devoted to snail mail, however.


The Booksmith
David Rees
826 Valencia

Posted by nightfall at March 15, 2004 09:50 PM