Drive: one of the only films ever to make me cry

“Have you seen Drive yet? You should.” I keep saying this, sometimes to strangers. It has become my sleeper hit, the film that sank into my skin and stayed there, an invisible tattoo just under the surface, built of silence, violence, and those terrifying, honest moments when you realize just how much you can mean to someone.

The plot is nearly forgettable, yet there were moments in the film that felt so honest that I can’t properly express why they were important, except to say that I miss some people, the same way all of us do. They’re far away or they’re dead or they don’t talk to you anymore and that’s just how it is. And this movie, Drive, a silly heist-gone-wrong movie with guns and blood and broken teeth, captured that completely.

He shyly smiles at her, then she looks out the window of the car as they drive through night-time L.A., (as you do if you live there, it’s just part of the experience, part of the mythology, as essential to the city’s identity as the palm trees that line every block), and he looks away and then, in that moment where they are both looking away and both of them are silent, only the radio plays, she reaches out and puts her hand on his on the gear-shift and it’s a revelation. He laces his fingers with hers and yes, I’ve been there, that precise feeling, I know it exactly, oh my chest hurts, this entire thing hurts, I want to cry, and the music swells up again and everything is just right.

Meanwhile the entire thing ticks on as calmly as it can, fueled by a killer, dreamy soundtrack, a quiet and efficient character piece dipped in low-rent Hollywood action. I’m a sucker for lovingly evocative images of downtown Los Angeles, but the true power of the film rests in how subtle the real story is, how intense its raw poetry. As far as I’m concerned, the title isn’t Drive for the expected reasons, but after the main character’s will and motivations, impeccably brought to life by Ryan Gosling. It’s a very fine trick for a revenge film, given how limiting the heavy narrative structure of a crime drama generally is, to have such a sincere respect for the complexity of human relationships, but underneath the cliché bag-of-money device and the scathing mob bosses, (played beautifully by Albert Brooks and an almost shockingly foul mouthed Ron Perlman), there runs an incredible focus on intimacy, interaction stylistically pared down to the basics. The film unfolds scene after scene like vivisection lessons on how much it’s possible to communicate without words. Even the clockwork-plot murders seem to be legitimate, less fiction than a memory that someone has chosen to share.

Some people don’t like it, you might not, (one friend of mine went so far as to say it was like watching unlikeable robots), but the fact remains that you should see it anyway. If only for the soundtrack. Or the bit in the elevator. I’d marry that scene.

some things only make sense from far away, others only from right up close

How To Walk In the Snow, A PAMPHLET

A US military F-18 fighter jet has crashed into a residential area of San Diego

I’m looking forward to watching the American Astronaut on a big screen tonight. It ties in so nicely to my recent adventures – sloshing through tunnels under Vegas as dark as outer space, talking Billy Nayer Show out in the desert with Charlie, then staying in San Fransisco, stickily aware of other people’s personal history in the city, maybe I’m standing where they have stood, taking steps inside where they once did, and finally driving North along the lyrical roads Mike has taken a hundred iron times, along the same ocean-starry route that eventually delivered him to me.

If I require a fulcrum to swivel upon as I return, it may as well be that movie, as much a sincere and solid reminder of the unlikely turns my social life thrives upon as anything else out there. If my trip had a theme, that would be it. The tango of this person knowing that person knowing this person knowing them, corrosive echoes of decisive lives over thousands of people, verve fluttering in every direction, scattering media and music, a haunting massacre of staring moments, a deadlock artillery map of unusual experience etched ouroboros inside the memory of my skin.

fricking frack: things I hate to miss more than

It’s that time of year again…

12th Annual Eastside Culture Crawl
November 21, 22, & 23

The 2008 Crawl map.

FRIDAY November 21st 5:00pm – 10:00pm
SATURDAY November 22nd 11:00am – 6:00pm
SUNDAY November 23rd 11:00am – 6:00pm

The Eastside Culture Crawl is a free, annual 3-day arts festival that involves artists opening their doors to let the public tramp through their creative studio-spaces, (and sometimes homes), to exhibit work for sale.

“Painters, jewelers, sculptors, furniture makers, musicians, weavers, potters, writers, printmakers, photographers, glassblowers; from emerging artists to those of international fame… these are just a sampling of the exciting talents featured during this unique chance to meet local artists in their studios.

Purchase something that strikes your fancy, commission something to be uniquely yours, or just browse through the studios and meet the artists, learning about their specific works of art, materials and tools, approaches and techniques. This is a once a year opportunity to meet many diversely talented artists and view their creations in the studios where they work. Be part of this exciting event, which brings people from all over the Lower Mainland, and share in the imaginations that enrich our neighbourhood and lives.”

Last year Dillon and I went to a bit of it, and it was absolutely spectacular. Almost endlessly fascinating, as every room contained an entirely new collection of art. 1000 Parker St., especially, as it has the highest concentration of artists. (Though there seems to be more paintings of crows at 1000 Parker St. than there are actual crows in a fifteen mile radius of the building itself. Go figure.) Thankfully few studios were devoted to watercolour trees or flowers, instead it was a little like coming home, exploring every room as new, colour-spattered, welcoming universe. Last year there were over 300 artists showing. This year there’s going to be more.

It’s one of the few Vancouver events I consider unmissable, which is why it’s killing me a little that I’m not going to be in town while it’s happening. Instead I’m going to be in Seattle, and then hopefully on a plane, making my way South, towards Lung and the Salton Sea, the ecological disaster desert west outside of L.A. Take pictures, everyone. Attend, discover, and explore.

COILHOUSE: magazine launch party

from their site:

Held this Saturday at Hans Haveron Studios this event will be stuffed full of excellence. Look forward to:

  • Art, photography & fashion exhibit
  • Refreshments, with Mer’s “special” Electric Lemonade
  • Incredibly strange music
  • Photo booth with weird medical props, straight from Zo’s cave
  • Wall projections of Issue 01 art
  • Your first glimpse at the actual magazine!

    Enjoy art.
    Become art via expert lenses of Polaroid superstar Lou O’ Bedlam and Zo! Style Technician’s own Andrew Yoon.
    Dress your snazziest and bring your friends.
    Everyone’s invited!

    I’m sending Antony as my proxy, as the second best thing to being there, but hell, if I were even a smidgen closer, I’d drop everything to attend. My friends are doing snazzy work and I support them 100%. (And, yes, one day I’ll get around to writing an article, I promise). I hope every single one of you who live down there will go and send me photos! My bleak little heart will break if you don’t.

  • “She takes from life, eating its words and minutes and licking her lips, not wanting to waste any, “

    Paintings: The Seduction of Oedipus

    going hunting
    Originally uploaded by Foxtongue.

    It has been a struggle to sleep this week, and when I do, there has been no comfort in it. I dream of California, but not the California I had lived, full of bleak stories I tell now with terrible humour, but of the possibilities I could interpret from every building I walked past, their sunburnt lawns, every house a microcosm, every business an untold discovery, and the palm trees swaying almost shadowless to the sky, perfect emblems of hot modern fantasy lining every street.

    I blame my current reading material.

    Before I go to sleep at night, I read. Being a basic thing, there are variations, but it always the same pattern. Finishing with the computer, I turn off my lamp, plug in the ornamental lights, and snuggle in underneath them with my book. When I am done, I pull the plug. It is almost ritual, except that it carries no meaning. It is only the reputation of necessary movements, like washing dishes or putting on a shirt one sleeve at a time, that create the illusion of depth. Every day, the same ingredients.

    This week I was reading White Oleander, a harsh book yet beautiful, set in Los Angeles. I am told it was turned into a film once, but I never thought to see it. Why are all my favourite books set in L.A.? Reminiscent of buying my fierce summer clothing on the boardwalk in Venice, they are almost always written by women, couched in some foreign manner of prose that still remains english, always reminding me so strongly of my own writing – as if I were to live there again, it would be my turn to write a book, something powerful and achingly frail, like the bones of the body that I miss so much. Visiting the wild beaches was like stepping into fairyland. A fairyland punctuated by stairs and people in cheap foam and plastic flip-flops.

    Sweden opens embassy in Second Life.

    like hearts swelling

    Betty Hutton, once the favourite doll of Hollywood.

    Transparent as sound, we are pieces of the human engine out of old mythology, pet children decanted from bottles of blood. After the boy is blown from this city, I will stand alone by the side of the road, and even if he does not look back before walking through the gate, my legs will continue to hold me up, I will continue to breathe.

    That was always the worst lesson, that I will remain alive in my chemicals, wrapped in nerve endings, a collective rumbling of infintismals, (creaks, exhalations, needs), no matter how much my offerings to the gates have been smashed. The modern world is very bad at silence – cities do not hold their breath except in the moment before a bomb falls – but there are occasionally words I feel I should almost kneel to speak.

    I’d like to say our first kiss was a special thing, a low slung howl of discovery, but it’s never been like that. That road’s been washed out, (if there was ever order there), replaced by brittle grass made straw in the sun, such-a-shame at-so-young-an-age blame-yet-another-hotel-room-romance damn-those-older-men. I almost don’t care anymore. Instead I count first glances, first realizations, that pause between what I know now and what I knew then. What is more important? The date we met or the amperage of comfortable electricity that ran through my fingers the first time I touched the middle of his back with bare skin?

    The proud cities I have built with people, some of them are still standing, giant proud machines of words that circle the globe like air currents of what colour my hair, how long this correspondence, I had a show, they had a child, no, yes, you can’t come visit now. We are stories, novels, little threads in vast pleasing shapes. None of my relationships have been film-noir construction kits. We meet in cynical places badly lit, smoke cigarettes we take from small cases. This is just another connection, another spirit made flesh in the network. All we’re missing is the small confession of where we were the morning of September 11th, year 2001.

    This morning he was beautiful, a misplaced dream left over from 1985. Sitting on the bed to put on his boots like having Lost Boys on the record player; leather jacket, long hair, I used to clean my saddest house to that soundtrack album. No one wears slimmer dark blue jeans. In my head, “I like my body when it is with your body” and the memory of his eyes flickering from mine to my hands on my stockings like they do under his lids when he’s dreaming, conversation not missing a beat. This is our generation gap, that I can write this here, display my day, my meaning, my worth. I grew up here, on-line. He didn’t.

    I can barely believe how much I still want to go back to L.A.

    One of these days, I’m going to have to learn to find a home.