I don't actually have a movie to write about tonight, but I thought it would be a shame to let Leap Day go by without writing something. It only comes around every four years, right? Right. The trouble with this is that I don't have anything to write about. I lead a dull life.
I picked up my passes for True/False tonight and I'm psyched about the whole festival, I guess. It's been a while since I've been excited about True/False. It's gotten so big that it's a hard festival to attend casually. You need to be hard core about it now. Not like it was when it started nine years ago. I've been holding off on watching movies this week because I want to be hungry for a movie when I show up for my first showing tomorrow night, kind of like the way the Romans starved the lions before throwing the Christians into the arena with them. In the mean time, I've been working on other stuff. I've been writing an overview of transgender cinema for another blog. That should go up sometime after True/False.
I've also been re-reading Moby Dick. Moby Dick is one of my favorite books, in part because it's a so damned Lovecraftian. Moby Dick is The Great Cthulhu, after all, a distillation of a brute, indifferent cosmos incarnated as a monstrous whale. Melville even name-checks that old Philistine god, Dagon, so beloved of the old Providence spook. The cosmicism of the book appeals to me. It's also really droll. For instance:
At last, stepping on board the Pequod, we found everything in profound quiet, not a soul moving. The cabin entrance was locked within; the hatches were all on, and lumbered with coils of rigging. Going forward to the forecastle, we found the slide of the scuttle open. Seeing a light, we went down, and found only an old rigger there, wrapped in a tattered pea-jacket. He was thrown at whole length upon two chests, his face downwards and inclosed in his folded arms. The profoundest slumber slept upon him.
"Those sailors we saw, Queequeg, where can they have gone to?" said I, looking dubiously at the sleeper. But it seemed that, when on the wharf, Queequeg had not at all noticed what I now alluded to; hence I would have thought myself to have been optically deceived in that matter, were it not for Elijah's otherwise inexplicable question. But I beat the thing down; and again marking the sleeper, jocularly hinted to Queequeg that perhaps we had best sit up with the body; telling him to establish himself accordingly. He put his hand upon the sleeper's rear, as though feeling if it was soft enough; and then, without more ado, sat quietly down there.
"Gracious! Queequeg, don't sit there," said I.
"Oh! perry dood seat," said Queequeg, "my country way; won't hurt him face."
"Face!" said I, "call that his face? very benevolent countenance then; but how hard he breathes, he's heaving himself; get off, Queequeg, you are heavy, it's grinding the face of the poor. Get off, Queequeg! Look, he'll twitch you off soon. I wonder he don't wake."
Queequeg removed himself to just beyond the head of the sleeper, and lighted his tomahawk pipe. I sat at the feet. We kept the pipe passing over the sleeper, from one to the other. Meanwhile, upon questioning him in his broken fashion, Queequeg gave me to understand that, in his land, owing to the absence of settees and sofas of all sorts, the king, chiefs, and great people generally, were in the custom of fattening some of the lower orders for ottomans; and to furnish a house comfortably in that respect, you had only to buy up eight or ten lazy fellows, and lay them round in the piers and alcoves. Besides, it was very convenient on an excursion; much better than those garden-chairs which are convertible into walking-sticks; upon occasion, a chief calling his attendant, and desiring him to make a settee of himself under a spreading tree, perhaps in some damp marshy place.
That's comedy gold right there.
The graphic at the top of this post is by an artist named Tom Neely, by the way. Right click the picture to see it big in a new window (control click it on a Mac). It really is splendid. Then take a look at Mr. Neely's other stuff.
I also had an encounter at my local comic book store today that fills me with a modicum of hope for the future. I'm sure that when I use the phrase "comic book store," an image of a particular kind of lair for trollish white arrested adolescent males comes to mind in some readers--and believe me, I know these kinds of spaces all too well myself--but my experience tonight gives lie to that. While I was making my weekly purchase, there were three other people in the store: the cute gay kid who runs the register on Wednesday, another woman who was picking up the new issue of Batman Beyond, and a trans guy friend of mine. That makes: two transsexuals, a cis woman, and a gay guy (sounds like the beginning of a joke...). Nary a stereotypical fanboy in sight. It was kind of magical seeing that kind of diversity in a milieu known for misogyny and a hostile attitude toward diversity of any kind. So, yay, you new millennium and the changes you've wrought upon the world. It's not all shit. Some days, it's a right fucking utopia.