catapult magazine

catapult magazine

Vol 6, Num 21 :: 2007.11.16 — 2007.11.30


Kirstin’s recommendations 11.16.07

MUSIC: Tim Fite live

Having taken in many concerts over the past year as part of my work with college student activities, I’ve learned that opening artists can be either surprisingly bad and surprisingly wonderful.  After hearing Tim Fite’s Over the Counter Culture reviewed as one of the best albums of 2007 ‘so far’ on Sound Opinions, I was thrilled to find out Fite would be opening for My Brightest Diamond in Grand Rapids on November 10.  A fascinating combination of rapper, country crooner, revival preacher, snake oil salesman, and performance artist, Fite, along with his brother, put on an amazing opening act, complete with costumes and multimedia audience participation.  Digging into his work just the slightest bit reveals Fite to be a cultural prophet who’s critical of pharmaceutical companies, corporately sponsored artistic trends and anything and anyone that pretends to be good for us only to dominate, oppress and make one more sale.  He walks his own talk to such a degree that he was offering merchandise—some of it handmade—after his performance for pay-what-you-can prices, in addition to posting Over the Counter Culture online for free download.  And if you can catch him live, I guarantee that, as My Brightest Diamond’s Shara Worden said, “You’ll be thinking about that tomorrow”—whether you like him or not.


FILM: Alfred Hitchcock’s Rear Window

Speaking of this issue’s theme of good gifts, my husband gave me the Alfred Hitchcock Masterpiece Collection for my birthday.  Amazingly, I hadn’t been exposed to any of Hitchcock’s work until I saw The Man Who Knew Too Much a few weeks ago.  Rear Window was the second film we watched from the collection and it was excellent.  Longtime fans of Hitchcock may have ceased to be astounded by the director’s innovation, but viewing it for the first time from today’s perspective has been thoroughly enjoyable.  Rear Window, for those who are just as behind as I am, is a suspense thriller told and shot from the perspective of L.B. “Jeff” Jeffries, a photojournalist who’s stuck in his NYC apartment in the heat of the summer with a broken leg.  Looking out over the courtyard he shares with his neighbors reveals all sorts of stories and people.  There’s the musician who’s trying desperately to get a song right, “Miss Lonelyhearts” who just wants to be loved, “Miss Torso” who parades fancy underwear and fancy men through her apartment…but there’s also the sinister Lars Thorwald who appears to have killed his wife.  As Jeff tries to sort out the case with the help of his girlfriend Lisa and his nurse Stella, a variety of significant themes emerge alongside the suspense and dead end plot lines—marriage, neighborliness, love, identity, the power of art, voyeurism, moral responsibility.  It’s a film as densely packed with meaning as Jeff’s courtyard is with characters, but Hitchcock’s true mastery is revealed when the suspense is not merely the sugar for the medicine of meaning, nor vice versa.  With a warning not to expect a film like anything contemporary (think live theatre instead), I highly recommend visiting or re-visiting this masterpiece of film.

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