The Blue Raccoon

Saturday, January 03, 2009

The Annual Anniversary of My Nativity

Louise pours me a celebratory libation.

The billion-eyed audience may have not have believed their ears yesterday if they happened to have on NPR's Talk of The Nation in the room where they were conducting their vital and important business.

The Blue Raccoon
was not mentioned in the year's most notable blogs, nor is it mentioned here.

Yes, it is true, I've not kept up with the times here, and the Raccoon, which began on this date on 2006 as a birthday present from my partner-in-art, Amie Oliver, (who made a test in December, actually, of a somewhat bewildered Christopher Columbus -- like me, looking with trepidation into the horizon of The New).

There is some strange anxiety having your natal day fall so close to the chronological roll over and amid celebrations descended from Pagan mid-winter rituals and slathered with both Mesopotamian fire-and-water god iconography and Coca-Cola commercialism designed to spur consumers to go and do what consumers do when they feel anxious about the approaching dark.

I've found myself rummaging about in my closet looking for videos from moments of decade ago and, through Facebook, looking at copies of materials related to my theater and life of more than that ago. Then last night, we migrated out to the West Tower multiplex-- something we rarely do -- to see The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. There was Brad Pitt for her (on a motorcycle, with sunglasses, out Deaning-Dean) and Cate Blanchett for me (as a dancer...oh, my goodness, those lithe limbs...) and Tilda Swinton as The Woman (Cate, Tilda -- what else can you ask for? -- Cate image via This Blog Sits At The Intersection of Anthropology and Economics).

And for us both, the City of New Orleans, as Herself.

We spent the holidays down there and not our first time to visit the Crescent City, and each time, its sensuality and magic pull on us both like an voodoo incantation.

I cannot speak of her, our great and injured authentic place, without stereotypes, it seems. But I came away with the notion that Richmond could've should've learned lessons from her and other members of the sorority, Charleston and Savannah being the other two great sisters.

Approaching her on the I-10 bridge I observed that some cities, like New York, are identified by their skyline. But as Amie replied, "New Orleans is about the street."

Anyway, I shan't go on with that here.

I'll make these mentions: Screenwriter Eric Roth, who created Forrest Gump, hit the tuning fork again to make Benjamin Button, and Kate Winslet and Leonardo di Caprio, the Romeo-Juliet team of Titanic are teamed as a self-destructing 1950s couple in Revolutionary Road.

We've come from "Life is just a box of chocolates," to "You never know what's comin' for ya." Which is a big shift, if you think of it, in the mind of popular culture. Button is a post-9/11 Gump. People are dying all over in Button, sometimes of natural causes, sometimes due to World War II sea war, and the whole film is bracketed by the disaster of Hurricane Katrina. Instead of a leaf, we get a hummingbird, that if it stops beating its wings, dies -- which is as good a metaphor for the plucky human spirit/US national consciousness of itself as the human spirit as you're liable to find this season. One of the final images is a big dead, backward-running clock getting drowned by the rising waters, that as of a magic of Fanny and Alexander, begins to tick again even as its end approaches.

My other fave screen gem, Kate Winslet, is partnered again with her post-Titanic/Aviator "Wave of the future" love interest. Well, Titanic showed us that love could not overcome arrogance, hubris and mis-management, but that nostalgia and the mystic chords of memory are big box office. Now, the producers bet that the troops of teenagers who are now in their early to mid-20s and who watched 9/11 on television and are watching their previously assured world crack apart at the seams, as the heroic endless love couple battle psychological angst and alcoholism. The shipwreck of the latter 20th century has given way to the dire and uncertain 21st through the refracted lens of dark 1950s prosperity. I think this was once called Days of Wine and Roses and (the earlier) Lost Weekend. In those cases, post traumatic stress from Depression and war fueled craziness and boozing.

The party is over. But I'm going to have something like one. It is, after all, Harry Kollatz Jr. day.

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At 8:54 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

it is, it is your birthday ..
don't know why this post didn't show up when i googled your blog ..
i left tentative congratulations down below.

At 10:18 AM, Blogger HEK said...

Thanks anonymous for stopping by my corner of the Intertubes and expressing your appreciation for my natal day.


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