November 22, 2004

20,000 Books by Color

I've been watching a lot of trashy movies at the Parkway in recent weeks, and Wednesday evening was no exception when I talked Carol and Dan into joining me for Team America: World Police. The plot follows the adventures of a team of marionette freedom fighters as they battle terrorism no matter what the cost to the scenery. Matt Stone and Trey Parker of South Park fame leave no target unskewered, managing to get jabs in at self-righteous celebrities and Kim Jong Il alike. Their brand of tasteless humor has always been right up my alley, so I was laughing out loud through much of the movie. The puppets and backgrounds by the Chiodo Brothers were great, the soundtrack was great, the panthers were great. I just wouldn't recommend it to the easily-offended.

The very next evening I switched gears abruptly and decided to watch a DVD of The Lady Eve with Barbara Stanwyck and Henry Fonda. Stanwyck stars as a professional card sharp who accidentally falls in love with her prey, brewery heir and snake enthusiast Fonda. If there are snakes in a movie and I still love it, you know it has to be good. I had watched it with Carrie years ago and have since gained much appreciation for Preston Sturges's clever scripts and direction, and The Lady Eve features him at his best. Stanwyck is positively bewitching, and Fonda (who is intently reading Are Snakes Necessary? when Stanwyck forces an introduction) finds himself so goofily bewildered by her that he gives her some truly embarrassing lines on a moonlit deck about how he has always loved her. When she swallows them hook line and sinker we see how far gone she really is.

Enough movies for the week, I needed to see some art. The Mission is always hopping on a Saturday night, but this last one seemed particularly active with openings at Needles and Pens, the new Low Gallery, and Adobe Bookshop. I stumbled upon the last one quite by accident, and I confess I didn't pay attention to the art hanging high above the bookcases because I was there to see the books themselves. Artist Chris Cobb (and a team of devoted assistants) had rearranged every book around the perimeter of the store so that they were organized by the color of their spines, and the result was a full spectrum of shifting tones. I too possess the urge to obsessively classify by my own arbitrary systems, so I was utterly delighted with both the idea and the execution. My favorite portion of the display was where the books dissolved from blue into green, and I sat and gaped for some time while nearby a man in a yellow shirt had his picture taken against the yellow books.


Team America: World Police
The Lady Eve
Chris Cobb at Adobe
Interview with Chris Cobb

Posted by nightfall at November 22, 2004 09:16 PM