A highlight of our recent whirlwind trip to Sydney, this concert was a surprise birthday present from my Mum and a total musical blind date for me. Other than the band name and a vague association with the 90s, I knew literally nothing about Mazzy Star and couldn’t name or hum a single song. Luckily, their live show made for a wonderful night out.
Sydney is always great to visit, and this time I got to attend the annual Vivid Festival, when Sydney is illuminated by some amazing light shows. We were also lucky to catch the Archibald Prize portrait exhibition at the Art Gallery of New South Wales, spend some time at the Manly Beach, and enjoy some great food. I tried non-alcoholic beer for the first time, which was surprisingly nice (real beer still gets a no from me though).
I finally caught up on the short-lived but much-loved Firefly TV series a couple of months ago, which made me want to visit an alternate universe where the show was allowed to run for as long as its creator Joss Whedon had intended. In the absence of a working interdimensional portal, I had to do with this 2005 feature film, which is a much better farewell than the dizzyingly abrupt ending of the TV series.
I wanted to watch this movie for ages and I finally did it. This love letter to the 70s glam rock, very loosely inspired by David Bowie, is rather scattered and uneven, but at the very least it offers heaps more fun and weirdness than your average musical biopic.
After watching Solaris, last Thursday friend and I were back at the Astor Theatre for more of Andrei Tarkovsky‘s meditative, arty, defiantly slow sci-fi. I love the story I read where, upon hearing from the officials at the State Committee for Cinematography that the film was too slow and dull, Tarkovsky’s reply was that the film “needs to be slower and duller at the start so that the viewers who walked into the wrong theatre have time to leave before the main action starts”.
This was the first book club reading that, I’m sorry to say, turned out to be a complete dud. I still finished it because the central mystery kept my interest, but it’s not a good sign when you start cringing a couple of pages in.
There is a potentially interesting if harrowing story at the heart of the novel. In a small USA town, a teenage girl called Jenny Kramer is brutally raped at a high school party. Her parents agree to an experimental treatment that erases Jenny’s memory of the event; in theory this should spare her from PTSD and allow her to return to normal life. But Jenny’s trauma finds its way out regardless, and she decides that she wants to recover her memory of the rape. The novel’s narrator, Dr. Forrester, is the psychiatrist who treats Jenny as well as her parents who deal with their own emotional fallout and deep-seated issues. There’s also the question of who committed this horrific crime.
“Life beats down and crushes the soul and art reminds you that you have one.”
– Stella Adler