Lazy Luddite Log


Grimm And The Blue Crown Owl

On the weekend I saw the 'gothic' opera Grimm And The Blue Crown Owl at Street Theatre. I saw it because it was performed by Australian National University (ANU) opera students of which Petra is one and I am happy I saw it because it was original and engaging.

The music and story were written by one of the opera students. It was refreshing to see something new in what I think of as an old-world art-form. It was also nice that it was sung in English which surely made the convoluted plot a bit more transparent. Mind you I expected to understand more of it but forgot that sung dialogue is more difficult to understand than spoken word (hence all those wonderful and amusing misunderstandings of pop music lyrics).

Still someone reminded me that convoluted and inane story is a part of the opera territory and one goes more for the music. And the music was awesome. I lack the terminology but the music was a 'modern' if still tuneful brand of orchestral music performed by a very together chamber orchestra and sung by the keen and talented opera students. They both sung and acted well and even those lacking key roles still put in some fantastic body acting of movement and gesture (gotta love scurrying like a rat).

I enjoyed the costumes which utilised a combination of purpose-made items and existing clothing in a very economical and effective way. A ruffled shirt would provide the chest of an anthropomorphic owl while a black leather jacket would do the same thing for the wings of a bat. The 'mad scientist' lab rats were almost Gigeresque with those exposed skulls and spines. The wise storks (of which Petra was one) were elegant in kimonos and waving wing-like fans.

The audience was packed, and I suspect this had something to do with the fact that the story had a contemporary setting, while still resonating with fairy tale themes. We got a mix of tragedy and romance with a smattering of comic moments and it was all good value. I also got to go to an after-party which is always a fun thing to do.



Living Room Double Feature

Lately I have been watching a lot more videos (in disc format) than I have for a long time. It is partly the result of having fewer things to do overall here in Canberra and partly because home cooked dinner followed by a movie is a fun thing to do with ones live-in partner. Also this has got me thinking of a lot of the old movies I have seen and would love to see again. And it has got me thinking of the concept of the double feature.

Petra and I have been watching movies by ourselves - usually one of an evening. But if I were to host a video night for guests (as I have done in the past) I would want to see more than one in a sitting. One leaves you wanting more. Three leaves most guests too tired. Two is the right number of movies to see. But then I also think that movies should be selected to compliment one another while also presenting some contrast. With that in mind I have put together the following list of double features. I have avoided the easy way of simply playing sequels (which in any case too often exceeds just two movies). So here they are. You will notice that some genres and eras are rather over-represented...

* The Wizard Of Oz (1939) with Willy Wonka And The Chocolate Factory (1971)

* Casablanca (1942) with The Third Man (1949)

* War Of The Worlds (1953) with The Time Machine (1960)

* Rear Window (1954) with North By North-West (1959)

* The Pink Panther (1963) with The Party (1968)

* Jason And The Argonauts (1963) with Clash Of The Titans (1981)

* Barbarella (1968) with Flash Gordon (1980)

* Cabaret (1972) with The Boys From Brazil (1978)

* Alien (1979) with Predator (1987)

* The Blues Brothers (1980) with The Commitments (1991)

* The Dark Crystal (1982) with Labyrinth (1986)

* Ghostbusters (1984) with The Golden Child (1986)

* Terminator (1984) with RoboCop (1987)

* Real Genius (1985) with Better Off Dead (1985)

* Lady Hawk (1985) with Highlander (1986)

* The Breakfast Club (1985) with Heathers (1988)

* Back To The Future (1985) with Bill And Ted's Excellent Adventure (1989)

* The Abyss (1989) with Contact (1997)

* Stargate (1994) with The Fifth Element (1997)

* City Of Lost Children (1995) with Dark City (1998)

* Sleepy Hollow (1999) with The Brothers Grimm (2005)

* Pitch Black (2000) with Serenity (2005)

* Bridget Jones's Diary (2001) with Down With Love (2003)

* Pirates Of The Caribbean (2003) with Stardust (2007)

* Deja Vu (2006) with The Prestige (2006)

Hopefully my pairings will make sense. Of course one could do all sorts of different combinations and I have only listed a fraction of the movies that would be worth seeing at a video night. I am sure other suggestions could be made...