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Ladies and Gents Who Lunch photos
Near Seattle on Puget Sound

October 11th, 2003

What's That About?
Friday. Back from a photo session and dinner with two coworkers in one of the Oakland live-work lofts near Jack London Square. An appointment that really began, I now realize, when I dropped by a late afternoon party at the office and left, two glasses of wine and a bottle of beer to the wind. My, my. Quite a bit of disorientation for two glasses of wine and a bottle of beer (to the wind). Friday, a perfect day of sun and moderate temperature, a good day to end a week. How did I do with the photographs, the portraits over dinner and wine (and more wine)? Don't know, we'll see.

This is where you learn about strobes and exposure and whether you're going to look like an idiot when the film comes back. The basics, in other words. You learn because if you screw up it gets etched into your brain. "Ah, yes, the buttons on the back: one marked plus, the other marked minus. Something to do with light."

Saturday. I guess I wrote that last night around ten after the photo session (and a very good meal). I obviously had a fair amount of wine because it reminded me this morning. How much of this is wine and how much is the vertigo I say is getting better? Some part, a large part I hope. No more hangovers this week, no more wine in my portraits. Let's see how this head of mine straightens out.

Later. Back from seeing Kill Bill at the Grand Lake. Volume I. It really is Part I, as in "first half". Most movies, they stop in the middle, you say "hey!, what happened?" Mr. Tarantino's homage to Kung Fu action flicks, I suppose, each scene done with the tasty Tarantino hand, but as the reviewers have noted, not much to the story. Girl gets done bad, girl gets revenge.

Of course it's usually guy gets done bad, guy gets revenge (blood, swords, guns: Charles Bronson-ville), but, you know, good looking women offing one another, probably made sense when they were kicking it around. Tarantino doing Kung Fu. Fight scenes. Lots of blood, but nothing overly gut wrenching, no particular introspection about doing revenge by the dozens. Some tasty Tarantino, some really nice images, but basically, if you're into Hong Kong Kung Fu (which I am not, particularly) or if you're into Tarantino (which I am, particularly), well then, you'll want to go see Kill Bill. I have others on my list for this coming week, starting with Mystic River and Lost in Translation. Tarantino, Eastwood and Coppola. Can't hurt.

As an aside I'm not sure what others are thinking about Bill. Ebert and friend both give it a thumbs up although LaSalle at the Chronicle puts it down as garbage, a brain dead child of a once promising director. From "There was a time when Tarantino seemed like the most promising filmaker of his generation." to "This puerile, ugly fantasy is the sad but unmistakable product of a consciousness not worthy of serious attention." finished with "Let's just call it pornography. And let's just admit it's indefensible."

There was another piece (on the web, I think), a comparison of Tarantino and Eminem, two white boys who've made it big ripping off a street vision formerly only handled well by a few black artists and directors of talent. What's that about? I understand the Eminem reference, but that was last year and it sure as hell hasn't held back black hip hop artists from hitting the charts. Why this racist charge? All cultural movements come out of the closet to be subverted in the end. The rule is the art makes it or it doesn't. You fuck it up and the world sees you as a (fill in the blank) with aesthetic pretensions. You bring it off and you're an auteur, skating the line. White or black, every good artist is skating the line.

Is Tarantino the real deal? Of course. Has he made a good movie with this Kill Bill business? Probably. A piece of a movie, anyway. Probably too much smoke and shouting for it to be otherwise. Is it the end all, be all of films for 2003? Probably not, but the good movies are the ones you remember later when the dust has settled. You never know. I don't. Not three hours after having seen it. That second volume, though, that second half? What's that about?

The photograph was taken near Seattle on Puget Sound.