Saturday, May 28, 2011

RIP Gil Scott Heron

Saw Gil Scott Heron some time back in the '80's. Steel Pulse opened for him. He wrote songs with fantastic social commentary, catchy lyrics and a message, sometimes embedded in real poetry. Arguably his best known title, "The Revolution Will Not Be Televised", is proving prescient, if narrow-focused on "his people's experience" in the still struggling with it -- in spite of a black president -- United States. I am glad the USA has come as far as at has and refuses to say it is over.
 Reading a recent New Yorker profile of him it seems like this might be the release from pain he has been chasing for awhile. Regardless, his voice, mind and passion will be missed.

Monday, May 02, 2011

The King's Speech

A guest review from my Wife, Sarah Desmet. Yeah, she is a better writer!

When I learned of The King's Speech (TKS) trailers online I woke early in Costa Rica to begin downloading. By one afternoon several days later the snippets shared the King's awkward public address and beauty of Helena Bonham-Carter, but saved everything of the experience I would one day see on screen: The ineffable command to communicate we humans share, a soulful courage fighting halting, silent fear.

We are not birds with one signature chirp, but mammals with the shared grace of human speech. Slightly Cinderella but far from Pygmalion, TKS traces the battle line we worldwide fight from inside the mind: “What do you expect to hear from me?” “Do you understand the words coming out of my mouth?” “Can you feel me?”

Jeffrey Rush nails the future King in this fog of duty and asks “What are you afraid of?' To speak includes fear of not being understood for who you are, who you want to be, and who you must learn to be.

We were once two face to face lovingly crammed in an elevator going down to a Piccadilly Place where what we most feared – being direct, angry, honest -- is the native tongue. Today when one day a stutterer smooths a phrase we've heard haltingly ever before, we think, You found your flow! To do as others do does not give one his voice and TKS reminds us that to embrace being unique – left handed; a model maker, not collector – are places where we find our command of language. How we, as Kings, lead lives with the strength of clarity.

TKS shares a place of history when the language, the physical audio contact of how what was said, mattered so psychically, so physically – from tongue, jaw, heart, smile and finally ephemeral fears of being 'just human', and ever so full of grace.

Academy Awards or none, eminently memorable.