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Tuesday, May 18, 2010

The dust that hides the glow of a rose....








Last weekend I went to a cheapie movie theater and finally saw SHUTTER ISLAND....Definately not the most origional plot for a film....worn slightly thin in parts, but overall a beautiful movie with a pretty stellar cast (Leonardo DiCaprio is pretty impressive with his sustained intensity)....visually beautiful...and with an awesome soundtrack....

I have this thing where from a young age, I HAVE TO stay in the theater until just about the final moments of the credits rolling up the screen...kind of a religious ritual....when you begin to return from the place a film has taken you...like shaking the sleep off ones frame....talking to those beside you about what you've just seen....

Lucky for me I did....For alot of people sprinted for the door the moment the credits appeared...only hearing the opening strains of the final music....a lowing cello....The beginning of MAX RICHTER'S piece "On the Nature of Daylight"....and then a female's voice joins it: the Queen of Blues: DINAH WASHINGTON....and I couldn't move until the final credits rolled by and I could uncover who's haunting voice I was hearing....

Turns out that Dinah Washington's origional version is alot more in keeping with the time when she was alive...She was born in Tuscaloosa, Alabama in August of 1924...just weeks before Clyde Otis...who was born on September 11th, 1924 in Mississippi...who went to war and later moved to NYC to try his hand at song writing. He ended up writing "This Bitter Earth", which Dinah Washington recorded in 1960, just 3 years before her early death at age 39. She was married eight times (one can easily project all this into her voice as she sings about the hardships of being alive..), and it was her last husband, NFL player Dick Lane, who discovered her dead beside him on December 14th, 1963...she had mixed two different barbituates together in a deadly combination....
It was 3 more years before Max Richter was born in Germany in 1966....who would go on to write On the Nature of Daylight, which would later be remixed with Dinah Washington's voice to create such a beautiful piece that I have already listened to it at least 10-20 times today (and cried just about every time I did...hey, I DID tell you before I am a BIG SAP)....Clyde Otis would go on to live until 2008.

There is something so beautiful to me about the artistic process, and the nature of collaborations as well, that an artist can be years in the grave and continue to live amoung us...literally collaborating with others, inspiring them and pushing their talents higher and higher...that a song writer can write such beautiful words...and a singer can bring them to life...and a composer can lift them even higher...and enrich a film....long after some of those participants have gone from this earth.....you really can live forever inna way....


ON THE NATURE OF DAYLIGHT/THIS BITTER EARTH


for Dinah:


Blessed be the candle that burns half as bright...

For in burning, burns twice as long...

And the brighter light knows only night...

But the lesser may live to glimpse the dawn...

3 comments:

the b in subtle said...

johnny. thank you.

as an actor, my favourite moment is standing behind the curtain and the lights begin to dim and the audience out there begins to hush and it goes to black and you walk out into the darkness and find your spot and when the lights come up, you inhabit the character you're playing... i go to see a movie in a theatre as much as i can. sometimes i have to wait until my son is asleep in his stroller and i got to my local cinema which is the oldest rep cinema in canada - it's this old stone building over 100 years old. it's got about four or five seats on the right and maybe seven or eight seats on the left for about maybe 25 rows. and i've gone in the wintrytime and been maybe one of two or three people in there and they still make the popcorn for you and play the movie. even during a blizzard, i recall, when i was about 6 months pregnant and i drove into town in a blizzard because i wanted to see this film that was playing that night. i was the only other one besides this couple who made out the entire time. HA! i spent half my time enjoying watching them (envying them) and half watching the screen. but my favourite moment in a movie theatre is when the lights darken and a film comes up on the screen that you are seeing for the first time. and you're surrounded by all these strangers having this experience in the dark. and the smell of popcorn is so comforting. i'm like Amelie. i love sometimes to turn around for a moment in a cinema and see all the faces looking up at the screen. it's an amazing feeling. it's one reason why i don't own a television. i do end up renting DVDs for my laptop but there is nothing like seeing a film on a big screen, specially if it's meant to be seen in a large format. i miss acting, but am so glad i can still have the hint of feeling i miss when the lights dim. this song is beautiful. i just read your blog and played it while i was bathing my baby boy in preparation for his bottle and his naptime. i was smiling at him while the tears fell into the bathwater. sometimes i don't want him to see that i'm crying. i mean. when i cry. i don't want him to realize what that means. so i smile any time i cry in front of him. this song hit home for me especially this week. i had to say goodbye to someone i love very much and my heart is still bleeding, really. the words. really spoke to me tonight. i have to go prepare his bottle and get him to bed. but thank you for...the catharsis it was to cry. it's a release of some heavy shit this week. i look forward to seeing the film...keep warm, Johnny. :)

the b in subtle said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
johnny said...

Thanks for that....love yer writing....always so emersive (sp? word?) to read....

...sorry to hear about the loss....glad I could help....