Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Kentucky, that is where God will look for me.

6 months ago, the powers that be in this county decided to build a new, very expensive, water tower down on the main road. However, they decided to build it directly on an old mine. Now I'm no big city lawyer or fancy engineer, but I'm pretty sure this wasn't a good idea. How do I know this you ask? Well, for the past 2 months, that water tower has been gradually falling down. Italy has the leaning tower of Pisa, we have the leaning tower of Sand Gap. Every time we passed it on the road, we accelerated to an unsafe speed to try to get past the leaning tower as fast as possible, fearing that it may be our time and we might get crushed by this grand blunder of local engineers. Well, a couple weeks back, the tower was gone, fallen over I suspect, but it was no where to be seen...I wonder what happened to it.....

That's not the only odd thing that happened in Kentucky this week. Jennie, David, Kristin, Lewis, and Jesse and I went into Lexington to see a zombie parade, that's right, a zombie parade. For some reason unknown to me, a group of people decided to re-enact Michael Jackson's thriller music video in the streets of Lexington, right in front of the Kentucky theater. A Michael Jackson impersonator came out of the theater and started moondancing and whatnot, and then "Thriller" came on and all these zombies came out of nowhere! They all did the zombie dance up main street in Lexington. People lined the streets and processed next to the zombies and Jackson impersonator, they hung out of windows and leaned out of parking garages to get a glimpse of the single most bizarre parade in the history of the world. It was all together confusing....and kind of cool, in a bizarre way.

We then saw the new Wes Anderson flick, "The Darjeeling Limited" in the Kentucky Theater, the perfect venue. I would put it in the same category as "Royal Tennenbaums"; just as creative and visually impressive with better dialogue but with slightly less charm and slightly less uniqueness. It is the story of three American brothers bound to no specific destination upon the Darjeeling Limited train, with a promise to have a spiritual experience, even if it be painful, and to become brothers again. The characters were slightly unoriginal, but bore characteristics of former Anderson pictures. Francis (the oldest brother, played by Owen Wilson) is a combination of Royal T., and Kingsley Zissou. Adrian Brody who plays Peter, the middle brother, fits in perfectly with the Anderson crew. In the opening shot, he is running past Bill Murray, who is trying to catch the Darjeeling. Murray, a businessman cries out, "wait!", but is noticeably slowed down by his excessive baggage. Brody charges past him to catch the train, stands on the back platform of the caboose to see the figure of Murray sinking into the distance, almost as if Anderson is handing him the torch of Murray's role and initiating him into the gang. Peter is a combination of Chas and Richie Tennenbaum. Jason Schwartzman, co-writer of the movie, plays Jack. He is a combination of Royal and Steve Zissou, just as self absorbed and just as much of a jerk... with some Eli Cash thrown in. Each character has something to accomplish on the Darjeeling. Francis (Wilson) needs to heal physically, Peter (Brody) needs to mature and heal emotionally from the death of his father, and Jack (Schwartzman) needs to realize why he is a "bad person". I guess the moral is that we are all on our own Darjeeling Limited "spiritual journey" and that the baggage of the past, while significant, will hold you back from catching that train. I'd recommend it, I enjoyed it... though I did not enjoy the silly and unneeded sexual scene and opiate use, which I suspect were thrown in by Schwartzman, so do be weary of that...

Lastly, we played volleyball with some locals on Monday night. Kentuckians are very...VERY competitive about their sports. Thats why Kentucky Basketball (go big blue), and now football are such a huge deal. Their zeal for sports even drives some to be Reds and Bengals they do it I will never know. But anyways, 5 of us volunteers were spread out onto both sides of the net among the local regulars. They were very good. We were very bad. After a while, the locals, who were VERY into the game, started to 'compensate' for my bad play, by basically eliminating my position and moving into my territory. I tried to break the ice with some humor (you know how I do)...but that didn't go over well. See, part of the issue, I think, was that Appalachian people are weary of outsiders. This is not to say that they are unkind or not good, gracious people. They are good, and gracious. But they are also weary of outsiders. You need to share yourself with them, who you are, where you come from, who your people are (family). Then they will open up to you more, but it takes a while.

I hope you are all well, in whichever corner of the world you are in.

Cheers from South by Southeast.

quote of the day: From Lord of the Rings, Return of the King:

There, peeping among the cloud-wrack above a dark tor high up in the mountains, Sam saw a white star twinkle for a while. The beauty of it smote his heart, as he looked up out of the forsaken land, and hope returned to him. For like a shaft, clear and cold, the thought pierced him that in the end the Shadow was only a small and passing thing: there was light and high beauty for ever beyond its reach.


a.e. nee said...

well done

Anonymous said...

Being from Chicago is like being from another world to Kentuckians.