January 03, 2005

Creativity Explored

Never in a million years would I have considered seeing the Nicolas Cage vehicle National Treasure if it wasn't playing at the Parkway. But Wednesday night rituals must be maintained. It was terrible, but there were some redeeming moments from Sean Bean and even a few instances of snappy dialogue that made me laugh out loud. I also enjoyed the pieces of the puzzle that lead the treasure hunters ever onward, even if the leaps of logic required to solve the clues called for major suspension of disbelief on my part. Apparently the plot is very similar to The Da Vinci Code, but, since I'll put my own eyes out with hot pokers before I read that book, I wouldn't know. I do think Diane Kruger was instructed to strip the set of Troy and take it with her to stand in as the secret treasure trove. That's about as authentic as it looked. Just go rent The Goonies instead.

Thursday evening, the first night of the long New Year's weekend, I decided to relive one of my favorite moments from 2000 and watch Almost Famous. I have always had a weak spot for Cameron Crowe's films, and this one captures in one place everything that I loved and hated about my short, unglamorous stint in rock journalism. Patrick Fugit plays the young William Miller, put on assignment by Rolling Stone to follow an up-and-coming band as they tour America in the '70s. He manages to fall in love and lose his virginity within the space of a few short weeks, though not necessarily with the same person, and places frantic calls to Lester Bangs for advice on what to tell Ben Fong-Torres about his developing story. Kate Hudson was born for the role of Penny Lane, a groupie who insists she's along for the ride because she loves the music, not to fuck rock star Billy Crudup, and she plays the character with the perfect mixture of premature world-weariness and an unflinching sunny disposition. Frances McDormand also deserves honorable mention as William's worried college-professor mother, and Zooey Deschanel gets a great cameo as his sister.

For New Year's Eve proper Aimee and I did our traditional nerdstended Lord of the Rings thing, and then I headed out to the Mile High Club after midnight to check out the scene there. Indie hipsters in party hats standing around in small groups shouting about how wasted they are? The DJ rocking out as he spins Abba and Eminem in quick succession? Sleazy guys trying to edge in on my dance space despite absolute refusal to make eye contact on my part? All of the above, of course. I love the Mile High Club.

The following day was a recovery day. I made a big pot of wintry soup and invited Carol over for a Sex and the City mini-marathon. I had the first disc of season 2, and we quickly powered through all 6 episodes. SATC is really no more than a confection, but it's a well-written and frighteningly accurate confection. I'm just happy to be at a place in my life where I laugh at Carrie's breakup angst instead of feeling too much commiseration.

From sex to the sacred. I arrived a little early to the Epiphany carol service Sunday afternoon at the National Shrine of Saint Francis of Assisi in North Beach, and the preceding solemn vespers service was still in full swing. There is nothing quite like stepping out of the rain into a church lit by candles and filled with the music of the Shrine's magnificent choir, Schola Cantorum. I settled into a pew and quietly blissed out. My ignorance of Catholic traditions was painfully obvious at times (you're supposed to kneel before you sit down?), but I sang the hymns with all my heart and left feeling refreshed and restored and ready for the new year.


National Treasure
Almost Famous
Mile High Club
Sex and the City
The National Shrine of Saint Francis of Assisi

Posted by nightfall at January 3, 2005 09:39 PM