Weekly Rundown

Work, work, work. Every day this week was one job or another. But I had some good creative time too.

What I’m reading: Horizon by Barry Lopez. Spoiler: at over five-hundred pages of the main text, I’ll likely not finish this within a week. I hope I do finish it though. My thoughts on this: the cover shows plain-white text of title, author, and one achievement – “National Book Award-winning author of Arctic Dreams.” The cover photo wraps to the spine, and shows blue sea along the lower half, blue sky above. The horizon, a solid white line through the middle – it’s in this line where anything is possible. If, I suppose, you can judge a book by its cover. Lopez is a travel writer, humanitarian, and environmentalist. And everything about the layout of this book makes me want to read it.

What I’m listening to: Hadestown Original Broadway Cast Recording. Hit a deep dive of Andre DeShields for the radio show this week, and revisited this soundtrack. Really a wonderful compilation of music from Anaiis Mitchell.

What I’m watching: The Mandolorian. I was a few weeks late to the game, but I caught up. Good script, solid acting, great effects. A space-Western, reminiscent of Firefly.  The internet went wild for Baby Yoda (who should have a non-Yoda name that, hopefully, will be revealed soon), and I’ll admit it’s a cute critter. Looks like Gizmo from Gremlins though. Behind the mask, Pedro Pascal is doing awesome work. I think I first saw him GoT, but have tried to follow his career since.

Other things I’ve sent to friends this week:

  • Rolling Stone’s profile of Adam Driver. Gearing up for Star Wars Episode IX next week, the interview hints at the character arc for Kylo Ren and gives a revealing look at the actor behind the mask.
  • Another one from Rolling Stone, this one an interview with Rian Johnson regarding Knives Out. Again, loved that movie.
  • From NatGeo, a look at what happens to fresh water when mountain ice doesn’t reform on these water towers.
  • SNOWBALL FIGHT! The John Wick director shot this video with the iPhone 11.

Other thoughts about Instagram

There’s a certain joy of democratization of photography that Instagram offers. The only problem is Instagram as a platform has been used to further the vanity of our need-obsessed culture, rather than to express the joy of image – a joy which feels to me that perhaps the programmers had originally intended.

Rather than have an annual edition of Time or NatGeo showcasing the year’s best photographs, here’s a platform with real updates of the greatest photos at this time. Only, we fall short because we find the lowest common denominators. Of course it isn’t that the content is limited on Instagram, but it’s designed in such a way to engage our time – and that’s time that could be spent elsewhere.

Walt Disney Universe?

With Disney’s acquisition of Fox, the Mouse has become the entertainment leader (if it wasn’t already) across multiple channels – theatrics, film, television, broadcast, merchandise, and (of course) theme parks.

Blue Sky, 20th Century Fox, FX, National Geographic, and Fox Searchlight are just some of the assets being brought into the Disney brand. What this will mean for the future of cinema is nothing but conjecture.

However, I’m reminded of the argument that arose with the massive popularity of Disney Theatrics (Disney’s Lion King musical I believe was the first incident) – the Disneyfication of Broadway, where spectacle was more important than theatre.

I’d say that Broadway has always been about spectacle, and it’s not mutually exclusive of theatre. But, we’ll see what happens over the next couple of years.