Monday, February 7, 2011
I will pause to mention that the boss bought a $100 electric shovel on a whim during the snowstorm...and then did not use it on the employee parking spaces in back. Yes, yes, I was pissy and annoyed, but I got over it. I had to vent a little, to everyone around me, but I got over it. Oh, wait, I am venting now!!
I was in two nearly deserted public establishments during the Super Bowl--one, a restaurant with a bar, where, indeed, the Super Bowl was on above the bar, so I saw glimpses, and the second, the theatre itself, which had maybe 7 moviegoers + 6 staff. Many locals had seen the film when it was shown Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, and more when it was shown last year during the LGBT Film Festival, when I got to see Leading Ladies, a sweet, funny, dance film that we hope Ellen Degeneres is watching right now!
*This is actually a home made Smith Island cake, the state dessert of Maryland, photographed by Paul Johnson, on Flickr, who allows this use with attribution!!
("Howooo!" Woman [this blogger] howling for cake under moon.)
And I can report that Howl is a real treat. James Franco is up for an Oscar this year for 127 Hours, and he is surely a delight in Howl. And I was so moved by the clip of Allen Ginsberg at the end. I love the blend of black and white filming, color filming, and animation in this movie, and also the chance to hear sections of the poem more than once! It really aids in understanding this long poem to hear it as voiceover behind animation and then again in the context of Ginsberg reading it to his friends in a smoky cafe setting, or vice versa.
And the film has the excitement of a courtroom drama, since it is one, with poet/publisher Lawrence Ferlinghetti as the defendant in the obscenity trial for Howl and Other Poems, published by his City Lights Books.
David Strathairn is marvelous, as always, as the prosecutor who does not understand and is troubled by the poem, and Mary Louise Parker and Jeff Daniels get to do cameos giving testimony you love to hate. And Jon Hamm and Bob Balaban get to speak up for free speech.
So, that's my short, late review of Howl. You can read a better one here, in the New York Times. That reviewer doesn't like the animation, but I thought it had the little-boy vigor and enthusiasm of these on-the-road little boys discovering themselves.
It brings to mind Ginsberg's answer to the interviewer, asking, "What was the Beat Generation?"
"There was no Beat Generation," said Ginsberg. "It was just a bunch of guys trying to get published."
So there you have it: my pissy rant, and a real howl about the loss of the best minds of a generation.