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Showing posts from October, 2010

Charles - Charles City

I headed back north from Bascobel, Wisconsin and rejoined state highway 60, which had become the line from which I improvised - or simply got lost - as I made my way across the southern part of the state.   Highway 60 meandered along with the Wisconsin River and its attendant wetlands until joining US 18 and curving up into Prairie du Chien.   Not to be confused with Un Chien Andalou, much as my brain made the connection.  
I crossed the Mississippi from Prairie du Chien, reluctant as I was to leave a state with such a commendable reverence for cheese and beer.   The Mississippi is particularly expansive at Prairie du Chien; I thought I was crossing two or three rivers, given the several channels that flowed around the islands in their midst.   Right across the river, Iowa began with wooded bluffs.  Not exactly the way one pictures the state.   But soon enough, the land flattened to endless corn fields, already harvested, shorn and tilled.   A not overpowering scent of manure wafted…

Blaine - Boscobel

Day two of crazy, unrelenting wind in Wisconsin.   Up to state road 60 and west about 30 miles, I came to Columbus, home of Louis Sullivan's Farmers and Merchants Bank, the last of his eight, country "jewel box" banks he designed toward the end of  his career.  The Farmer's and Merchants was recently used in Michael Mann's  Public Enemies. as a bank robbed by Dillinger.

I wasn't quite as thrilled as I usually am to set my eyes upon a Louis  Sullivan building.   Perhaps because I recently saw the bigger, almost palatial National Farmer's Bank in Owatonna (see post entitled "The Bay, The Riverview and Louis Sullivan Too" to see pictures of the National Farmers), Minnesota.  Perhaps because it was difficult to stand still and take photos in the high wind.   Perhaps because I was practically assaulted by an American flag, while standing across the street  to take the  photo above.   I'm trying not to look at that too symbolically.....But I real…

Rivoli - Cedarburg

It's 107 miles to Cedarburg, I've got three quarters of a tank of gas, no cigarettes, precarious finances, 90,000 miles on my little BMW, it's sort of dark and I'm not wearing sunglasses.   But sometimes, you just have to get out of the city.
Having languished through the first day and a half of my week off, I decided that I needed to do something, however impractical that something might be.   Finding nothing appealing in Iowa, at least the eastern side of the state, I found what looked like an interesting theater in Cedarburg, Wisconsin.   Finally, at 2:15, fighting against the considerable force field of my condo and paralyzing indecision, I hit the road.   
Tuesday was one of those harbinger of winter days:   leaden skies and bullying winds which seemed intent on striping every last leaf from the trees, leaves once loosed collecting and swirling in small cyclones, or thrown to and fro in bunches, their movement across sidewalks and streets like deranged flocks of bir…

The Town

"Blackberries forward!" shouts one of the bank robbers, from behind his grim reaper mask as he brandishes an automatic weapon during a heist at the onset of The Town.    Apparently this now one of the de rigeur behests of those robbing banks in the 21st century, perhaps replacing the reliable old "Put yer hands in the air!"   It also seems a kind of confirmation as to what sort of compulsion it might take to separate most people from their Blackberries or smart phones.

The devices are gathered, put into a small bucket and submerged in liquid.   It's just one of many impressively thorough steps  - finding the exploding dye that has foiled more than one bank robber with a bag of stolen loot, collecting security tapes and frying them in a microwave, spreading bleach to remove traces of DNA - taken by this decidedly professional group of criminals as they rob a bank one morning.  The extended heist sequence is probably the high point of director Ben Affleck's …

The Social Network

Hell hath no far-reaching fury like a computer geek scorned.   This the theme of David Fincher's The Social Network,  if not necessarily that of Facebook creator Mark Zuckerberg's actual life.  
The Social Network begins way, way back in 2003, with a restaurant conversation between Zuckerberg (Jesse Eisenberg) and his soon to be former girlfriend Erica (Rooney Albright).   The contentious tone  and Zuckerberg's anxiety are immediately apparent.  What's not so obvious are the particular words being spoken.   These kids today...who can understand 'em....
But, actually, this is no dreary, "And I was like...and she was like...and he was like" presentspeak.   These are/were some of our country's brightest young minds, after all.   Points are made in complete sentences, if not paragraphs.  Amidst all the verbal heavy traffic of the conversation, Mark makes Erica aware (or perhaps reminds her; one gets the feeling the subject had come up before) that he score…

Soul Kitchen

A funky waterside restaurant in Hamburg! Sub-pedestrian fast food which is transformed into gastronomic magic!  By a mad genius chef!  And there's soul music!  And other kinds of music!  There's some old guy called Sokrates who parks his boat in the building and never pays rent!  The restaurant is coveted by an evil real estate developer!  And don't forget about the beautiful women!  Zenos, the main character, often says "YEAH, MAN!"   Doesn't it sound wacky?   It has to be fun, right?  Well, as it turns out, no, man.   
Given the progress of writer/director Fatih Akin's first three films  - the charmingly wack road picture, In July and the powerful dramas that followed,  Head-On and Days of Heaven - I'm inclined to blame this genial mess on co-writer and star Adam Bousdoukos.   Mr. Bousdoukos seems to have overestimated his own charm, that of Soul Kitchen's main character Zinos, or some combination thereof. 

 Soul Kitchen begins, appro…