Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Presumably Beautiful Bog Naiads and Beat

Last night's tweets;

Richard Pryor knew about booze and crabs.
A hungry day of pitas and hummus.
It seems sort of vaguely good for my abs.
We need more Jack Kerouacs among us.

I had a lot of colouring to catch up on yesterday--the double whammy of my birthday and Easter set me back a little more than I expected it too, but I'm confident I'll have the next chapter finished in time. I spent eight hours just colouring yesterday while listening to a variety of talking things--I listened to stand-up comedy by Chris Rock, Artie Lange, and Richard Pryor as well as someone reading "Moon Bog" by H.P. Lovecraft and the first thirty minutes of Jack Kerouac reading his own On the Road, an odd mix to be sure.

I love Kerouac so much. I'm not even necessarily talking about the quality of his work--there's just such an irrepressible warmth and love for everything in his style, and you can hear it in his voice when he reads, though he doesn't sound quite as exuberant in the On the Road recording as he does in some of the shorter pieces I have. In that first thirty minutes hardly anything really happens, just Kerouac hitchhiking, really, but his affection for the people he ends up travelling with and the strange sight to him of prairie in the night is mysteriously beautiful. I listened to the first half of one of my favourite segments from the book last night, where he and a young Mexican woman he meets on a bus abruptly end up in a relationship and start living together. Reckless and sweet, it seems impossible life can be that nice.

I hadn't had much exposure to Richard Pryor's stand-up before last night--I knew him mainly from the bits of movies I'd seen him in as a kid and from Lost Highway. Mostly I remembered him playing nitwits, and it was clear to me from listening to his stand-up that he had been totally miscast in such roles. Less a stooge and more of a Groucho Marx, Pryor had an amazing rapport with the New Orleans audience seen in Here and Now, the stand-up special I listened to last night. As the crowd threw equal parts love and hate at him, Pryor could throw it back with satisfying creativity.

This kind of goes back to the subject of objectification--if you're a performer, someone a lot of people are watching keenly without establishing a two-way relationship, whether you're a stripper or a film director, you're playing with the natural hatred people have for the chutzpah of anyone who dares presume they're good enough to be on a stage, and the preconceptions the audience foists on the artist as a defence mechanism and as part of a need for wish fulfilment. So Pryor has to deal with a room of people throwing conceptions of race and alcohol consumption and work with them, or face the wrath of the mob. But Pryor can turn these things on their heads without the audience quite knowing what's happening because he's gotten to them through sheer talent--he seems to bring out the love that was really hidden underneath the bullshit, anyway.

I'm pretty sure I'd read "Moon Bog" before, but it's been a couple years now since I read Lovecraft. It's a nice story, though I think Lovecraft might have feared naiads a lot more than me.

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