Felicia Pearson aka Snoop

I just started Season 4 of The Wire (for the second time), and the opening scene remains among my favorites. This time I used subtitles, and it helps.  One thing I love about the show is that the writers don’t over explain or even begin to explain everything. As a viewer, at first you have no idea what she’s saying. It took me several episodes and a call to my brother to confirm her gender much less interpret her mumbled jargon.

Maybe this is a deeper metaphor for what the writers are trying to address. These issues (politics, drugs, government systems) are so complicated and so dysfunctional that beginning to bring about true restoration is like trying to communicate with someone speaking a different language. We can’t understand. We can’t do it.  The Wire shows us that lower crime stats, more money, and new faces do not solve the deep problems that plague communities like Baltimore. Their need is for something so much greater.

Part of what makes the show so authentic is that these “characters” are often really playing themselves. Many are Baltimore natives. Many have been “in the game,” and many are essentially playing themselves. Check out this Interview with Snoop

I wonder if her book is any good…

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Yet something evades us…

“In America I saw the freest and most enlightened men (and women) placed in the happiest circumstances that the world affords, [but] it seemed to me as if a cloud habitually hung upon their brow, and I thought them serious and almost sad, even in their pleasures. [. . . ]Among democratic nations, men (and women) easily attain a certain equality of condition, but they can never attain as much as they desire. It perpetually retires from before them, yet without hiding itself from their sight, and in retiring draws them on. At every moment they think they are about to grasp it; it escapes at every moment from their hold. They are near enough to see its charms, but too far off to enjoy them; and before they have fully tasted its delights, they die.

Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America (1838)
Ch 13: “Causes Of The Restless Spirit Of Americans In The Midst Of Their Prosperity”

*gender inclusion added by Moxie

Suf? Is that you?

Turns out I love Sufjan Stevens. 34  years old. Super quirky. Disillusioned with albums and songs. And apparently he loves Moxie. (check out the graphic on his Tshirt). We’ve all been salivating since Illinois for his next record. Apparently he’s given up on his project to make an album for each state. I respect that, Suf. We all have to renegotiate our commitments now and then. Thanks for being honest. But really, we miss you.

I just watched the DVD of BQE–his most recent creation, which is a symphony about the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway, a controversial highway in NYC (whatever that means). Here’s how he describes it in the liner notes…

And then it hits you: If skyscrapers are the ultimate phallic symbols,then then the urban expressway is the ultimate birth canal,the uterine wall, the anatomical passageway, the ultimate means of egress, and the process by which we are all born again…

I have to say, it sounds more interesting than it is. I think what really pierced me about Sufjan were his compassionate, intimate lyrics. I can appreciate instruments to a point, but I’m just not feeling this one. I wish I had some artsy, smart thing to say, but I don’t. I miss “John Wayne Gacy” and the like.

PASTE magazine’s review says it “transcends words and time and place,” but I can’t quite get into it. Does this make me a fair weather fan?

Here’s Pitchfork’s review.

In sum, although I really like the idea of BQE, and I enjoyed hearing what he was thinking while creating it, I’d still like to hear what he has to say about Maryland, Georgia, or even Alabama, and I’m sad he’s given up on his 50 states project.

“I no longer really have faith in the album anymore. I no longer have faith in the song.” –Sufjan Stevens

Maybe he’s too quirky even for Moxie…I have to admit, although I’m disappointed in this recent direction, I will be breaking out his Christmas CD, Hark, Songs for Christmas, any day now.