Monday, July 30, 2007

Weekend

Saturday, the members of Slumlords, unc held thier approximately annual meeting.
Liz Chenoweth, Robin Atkins, Anne Helmholz, and I once bought a duplex in Ballard. We held on to it for several years, then sold for a semi-reasonable profit. Since then the ever expanding universe has caused somewhat of a geographical dissipation.(I suppose that's supposed to mean that we've all moved on, or out, or something)
So, we get together for lunch and talk about old times, or new times, or even the Seattle times.
Over the years, we have collected some associate slumlords, a stamp dealer and a photographer
  • Robert Demar

  • I got a criticism that my blog posts are somewhat incomprehensible. Well, fjfirgjsdj of the vjoighoig on a newly minted ;odfij;oizdg, to that, Eh?
    So after that, I went home, took Meredith to the Whistlestop in Renton for dinner, then to Half price books to get rid of one of the many boxes of books littering our basement. Got eighteen bucks for 'em.
    Paid for half (approx) the dinner.

    Then home for an evening of Swing years and beyond on...on...hmmm..."nearly 95" public radio station. Then I stayed up till 1:30 watching "Saturday Night Live" and reruns of "Almost Live" I don't know why I do that, habit I guess.

    Sunday, the book club meets at our house, so I made a big pot of turkey lentil soup which turned into turkey lentil (something other than soup because all the water got sucked up by the pasta I threw in at the last minnit)

    Anyway, the book was "Possession" by A.S. Byatt.

    Here is what it is about (This synopsis was written by Meredith Kraike. She has not abandoned the copyright, so watch it.)

    Possession – summary

    · Roland Michell, research assistant to Prof. Blackadder, editor of the works of Randolph Henry Ash, finds a letter by Ash to a woman (unnamed), and decides it might indicate some new info abt Ash.

    · Roland lives with Val. They clearly don’t love each other; it’s just a convenient arrangement and a dysfunctional relationship in which they are both trapped. (She is the main breadwinner.)

    · There is another important, and competing, scholar of Ash: Mortimer Cropper in the U.S. He is very competitive and is not above using unscrupulous methods to get information about Ash.

    · Roland figures out that the letter may have been written to Christabel LaMotte, a poet who lived with another woman, Blanche Glover. He goes to see Maud Bailey, a scholar of LaMotte.

    · Another scholar of LaMotte: Leonora Stern in the U.S.

    · A scholar of Ellen Ash, Randolph’s wife, is Beatrice Nest, who is connected to Blackadder’s team.

    · Maud Bailey is a descendant of one of LaMotte’s nieces. She and Roland travel to Seal Court, where Sir George, a descendant of LaMotte’s sister, lives with his wife. Maud is a very closed and guarded person, and is aloof to Roland.

    · At Seal Court, Maud and Roland discover a cache of letters between Ash and LaMotte that suggest the two might have been lovers at one time. Sir George realizes the letters may be valuable and decides to keep them at Seal Court for the time being.

    · Meanwhile, Cropper has come to the U.K. and gets wind of the fact that Roland and Maud are involved in some kind of research involving Ash and LaMotte.

    · Roland and Maud think that when Ash went on a natural history expedition in Yorkshire in the summer of 1859, LaMotte may have joined him there.

    · Maud wins Beatrice Nest’s confidence and gets to read the section of Ellen Ash’s journal that corresponds to the time that Ash was away on his expedition. One item in the journal is that a woman wrote a couple of letters to Ellen, asking to see her about an urgent matter. The woman turns out to be Blanche Glover.

    · Maud and Roland retrace Ash’s trip to Yorkshire. During that time, it’s clear that they are becoming closer and that Maud’s defenses are softening.

    · Cropper befriends Hildebrand Ash, a direct descendant of Ash. It’s obvious that Hildebrand is easily controlled by Cropper.

    · As Roland and Maud become more and more involved in their quest, Val becomes involved with Euan MacIntyre, an attorney.

    · When Maud and Roland return from their trip, Leonora Stern surprises Maud with a visit. Stern has a letter from Dr. Le Minier, a fellow scholar in France, telling her that she has the journal of Sabine de Kercoz, a relation of LaMotte, and the journal talks about LaMotte.

    · Maud and Roland go to Brittany to see Dr Le Minier, who gives them a copy of the journal.

    · The journal reveals that LaMotte went to Brittany in Oct of 1859 to stay with Sabine and her father because she (LaMotte) was pregnant.

    · LaMotte disappeared at the end of April, 1860, just before the child was due to be born, and reappeared a week or so later, without the child. LaMotte told Sabine and her father nothing about the child---whether it was alive or not, or anything else.

    · It’s known that Blanche Glover committed suicide in the summer of 1860.

    · It’s also known that Ash attended at least two séances in 1861, although there’s no indication that he believed in such things. LaMotte attended at least one of these. Ash evidently asked about the whereabouts of a child at one of these events.

    · Cropper follows Roland and Maud to Brittany, as do Leonora and Blackadder, who have joined forces.

    · Val and Euan become engaged.

    · Maud and Roland return to the U.K., knowing that the others are on their trail. They are becoming closer, emotionally, and Roland is beginning to think like a poet.

    · We learn that when Ash died, Ellen burned some of his letters but put one unopened one, along with a few other things, into a sealed box which was buried next to his coffin. Cropper knows of this, and Maud, Roland, et al do too.

    · Cropper and Hildebrande plan to dig up the box, illegally. What they don’t know is that Beatrice Nest has overheard them discussing this.

    · Euan and Val get together with Maud, Roland, Blackadder, Leonora, and Beatrice Nest; and hatch a plan to catch Cropper in the act.

    · Roland returns for a night to the apartment he’d shared with Val. He discovers that there are letters from three universities offering him teaching positions. This means that he can break out of the trap he’s been in for years, barely making ends meet and going nowhere. He also begins to realize that he has a passion, and it’s to write poetry.

    · The group following Cropper and Hildebrande do in fact catch them in the act. The unopened letter is from LaMotte to Ash, telling him that he had a daughter, who was raised by Sophie, LaMotte’s sister, as one of her own children. The daughter, Maia (or May), believed that LaMotte was her aunt.

    · Roland and Maud finally go to bed together and assume that they’ll work out a relationship which allows them space to pursue their own scholarly passions, etc.

    Anyway, there was lots of hugs which made life seem almost worthwhile untill bedtime where the shrieking demons of the Seattle Symphony kept me awake most of the night.

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    5 Comments:

    Blogger butch said...

    POSSESSION by A.S. Byant. It was made into a damned fine film in 2000, starring Gwyenth Paltrow.

    Possession (2002)
    Ron Henriques

    I thought the summer was going to end without a nice romantic American film, but before I could say, "Oh well," director Neil La Bute has surprised me again with his latest film, the long delayed adaptation of A.S. Byant's award winning sensation "Possession." Not only is this feature a very romantic mystery, but an intelligent one, full of dimensional characters that don't seem like cardboard cut-outs, but flesh and blood.

    "Possession" is the story of scholars Maud Baily (Gwyneth Paltrow) and Roland Michell (Aaron Eckart) who stumble upon a the mystery of an affair between renowned Victorian poets Randolph Henry Ash (Jeremy Northam) and Christabelle LaMotte (Jennifer Ehle). The notion of such an affair seems unlikely since Ash is known for his poems of devotion to his wife and LaMotte was discreetly considered a lesbian.

    Maud and Roland's pursuit of their theory takes them across England to the many secret locations that the two lovers journeyed to. As one clue links them to another they find that the passion and attraction within the secret writings of Ash and LaMotte is infectious causing an equal attraction to develop between them as well.

    Such a premise seems cut and dry: two intellects researching an affair between two historical intellects and find themselves falling in love as well, but "Possession" doesn't completely fall into generic territory. The transitions between the past and present are not disruptive and the chemistry and performances by the four lead actors don't seem phony or mismatched. We know from the start that Paltrow and Eckhart will become infatuated with one another but La Bute and Byant's story don't make it so easy for us, the threat that the romance may collapse before the film's end is a possibility.

    The real joy of the film is the intelligence of its characters. The two romances within the film begin not through physical attraction but through attraction of the mind. Ehle and Northam first meet at a small gathering and through secret correspondence they find attraction through their intellects and use of words. The same can be said for Paltrow who again plays a somewhat stuffy Brit and Eckhart as the reckless American who both become fascinated with each other's wit and intelligence. The average film would have the romantic leads having a shag by the third reel and even though only Ehle and Northam get to consummate their relationship on screen it is not rushed or even distasteful. It's nice to see two characters actually make love with their clothes on for a change.

    Director LaBute is known for being a playwright and film director of stories that deal with the harsh and sadistic tendencies that exist within us all (Bash, The Shape of Things, The Company of Men, Your Friends and Neighbors). With the 2000 release of his film "Nurse Betty," a sweetly comic fantasy written by John Richards, LaBute proved he's actually a very humane person and a director capable of exploring more than just the terrible aspects of human nature. He is beginning to master telling stories that have multiple layers. His shot compositions within the widescreen anamorphic frame are inventive and make the transitions between eras smoother.

    Paltrow has been complimented time and time again for her mastery of British behavior and even though she pulls off another damn fine job its nowhere near the level of Ehle, who is an American actress as well. The warm demeanor Ehle projects through her pale skin makes her seem like a precious porcelain doll. Northam's performance has been criticized by many, saying that he is very stoic and is just going through the motions but I found his performance as a man consumed by passion to be very credible. Another criticized performance belongs to Eckhart and his work is actually my favorite within the film. Eckhart is a virtual chameleon and has appeared in all of LaBute's films as a slimy woman hating executive, an overweight cuckhold and a cheating redneck mullet headed car salesman. Here he's given the chance to be a real leading man and he actually pulls it off and manages to break Paltrow's hard shell with his charm. When they discuss the attraction between them they both know things could end up good or bad. "Freud says that on the other side of attraction lies repulsion," he tells her, "Or is that Calvin Klein?"

    For those looking for a smart romance with intelligent and believable characters "Possession" is the ticket for them and just may be the smartest and most romantic film of the year.


    For the Tacoma Film Club, POSSESSION was reminescent of THE FRENCH LIEUTENANT'S WOMAN.

    When you met with the Slumlords, did you find out why Robin has not contributed any comments for like a year on FFTL? I am still pissed off that the Seattle Times, which is a quality rag, combines with what's left of the Hearst rag, the Seattle P.I. --at least on Sundays. Whoever heard of such a thing? Actually I am old enough to remember the Seattle Star. Now that was an independent rag that got squeezed out by the big boys.

    Professional photographer, Robert Demar, has been taking pictures, capturing his surroundings on film, since he was a young boy with a Brownie Hawkeye. While his photographic career began in the Seattle area, he now lives and works on San Juan Island in Washington state, where he finds his camera drawn to many compelling subjects.

    Between 1975 and 2002, Demar worked almost exclusively in black and white photography, doing all of his own darkroom processing and printing. He had numerous solo and group exhibitions of his B&W photographs in the greater Seattle area and on San Juan Island during this period, including Colorless Impressions ~ portraits of homeless people living in Seattle’s First Avenue area, American Camp ~ a documentary study, spanning three years and all seasons, of a scenic national park located on the southern tip of San Juan Island, Madrona Macros ~ close-up macro photographs revealing intriguing textures and patterns in the peeling, fracturing bark of Madrona trees, and Nautical Highways ~ a pictorial history of the Washington state ferries serving the San Juan Islands between 1997 and 2001. Demar’s book of black and white photos on this subject, Nautical Highways, Ferries of the San Juan Islands, was published in 2002.

    Although Demar enjoys taking photos everywhere he goes, he tends to concentrate on certain subject matter, attempting to see it in every possible light (literally and figuratively). In addition to the photographic series mentioned above, he has also worked extensively with such subjects as old homesteads and scenic landscapes of the Methow River valley in Eastern Washington, and the Oregon Dunes.

    When asked why he worked in black and white photography, Demar would say that he enjoyed the control and fine tuning possible during the process of creating toned, silver gelatin, fine art prints in his own darkroom. Since working with a color lab to create color prints was not as satisfying, he stuck with B&W for the most part.

    However, when professional digital cameras and the capability to make high quality, archival digital giclée prints became available around 2000, Demar began to apply his well-developed photographic talents to taking color pictures. His first color study to be shown in exhibition was Fish Net Variations ~ a series of macro and close-up images manifesting the alluring textures, patterns and colors found in nets and fishing gear used by salmon fishermen in the Pacific Northwest.

    Some other subjects now attracting Demar’s color-tuned eye and digital camera are: Skagit Valley Tulips ~ over 60 varieties blooming in acres of fields, drawing visitors from far away to the annual Skagit Valley Tulip Festival, Wild Snow Geese ~ nature photography at a reserve located in Skagit Valley, San Juan Marinescapes ~ marine photography celebrating the seascapes, sunsets, sunrises, reflections, ferries, sail boats, small harbors, and the waterways among the hundreds of islands off the northwest coast of Washington, Motorcycle Baditudes ~ a look at the visual persona of bikers attending the annual Oyster Run rally in Anacortes, Washington, Rush Hour ~ a 25-hour documentary study of rush hour traffic, the freeway commute, in the greater Seattle metropolitan area, and Simple Resting Places ~ pictures revealing modest and nearly forgotten grave sites and cemeteries found along little-traveled blue highways of the Northwest. And, this time with his digital camera, Demar returns to his previous interest in Madrona trees, creating a series of color macro images called Madrona Moments.

    Robert Demar is also quite well known for his professional aerial photography. He takes assignments from local realtors and private individuals, who depend on him to provide clear, accurate images of island properties and surrounding environment. The photos in San Juan Aerials, a series taken from some of his assignments, validate the name given to these islands, The Crown Jewels of the Pacific Northwest.

    Who in Christ's world had the audacity to criticize the state of your blog comments? Your style is pure Palmer --stream of semi-consciousness, and most of us would not like for you to alter the state of your mind or the timbre and elusiveness of logic, the free flow of ideas, the prose that lapses into free verse, or metaphysical meandering. No, I say to that naysayer. They need to get a grip.

    www.whistlestopalehouse.com

    809 S 4th St
    Renton, WA 98057
    (425) 277-3039

    Old World charm may be found in downtown Renton, Washington at the Whistle Stop Ale House. For over one hundred years people have come to this neighborhood next to the railroad tracks to enjoy a pint among friends. Adding to the rustic charm is the cherry wood back bar which traveled to the Alaskan Gold Rush before finding a home in Renton.

    Today's brand new Whistle Stop has seventeen rotating taps that feature the finest ales and lagers of the Pacific Northwest and the World. Freshly grilled deli sandwiches are the menu specialty along with soups, salads and appetizers. Swing by for a quick lunch or spend an afternoon, either way the service is always friendly and the beer is always fresh.

    As many of you know, we lost our lease as of October 31st of 2003.

    We are now open in our new location just one block east and across the street from our original place. Follow the link below to see our new building's transition from grocery to pub.

    Ain't it a bitch what it costs to go out for a meal? 35-40 bucks for two people on a regular basis. When we were kids you buy a beater car for 40 bucks. Inflation is just one nasty sombitch. I make like 28 bukcks an hour they tell me, and we just live paycheck to paycheck. Melva and I both work, so we eat out much too often, but there it is; reality.

    You will have to be a bit more specific about those SSO demons. It might make for a great comment.

    Glenn

    5:31 AM  
    Blogger Lane Savant said...

    Butch, if you got Robert's info from his site, it's possible that Robin wrote it. She does that sort of thing very well.

    8:43 AM  
    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Sounds VERY complicated!!
    I'd MUCH rather stick with what I'm now reading: "Who Killed Classical Music?", "Der fremde Vater" (roughly "The Father I Can't Really Understand", by the son of the East German spy who became Willy Brandt'd Chief-of-Staff when Brandt was Chancellor of Germany, and, when uncovered led to Brandt's resignation), and "Menschen im Gegenwind" ("People in Cropss-Winds", about the people who worked on the V-2 rocket at Peenemunde and their lives after WWII).
    -- Anonomann

    3:48 PM  
    Blogger Robin said...

    Butch, er Glen, did get the info from Robert's site, and in fact, we collaborated on writing it. What I don't quite understand, is why copy and paste it in a comment on your blog? Did someone say, "Ours is not to understand why, but to...?" And, for the record, I do read most of your posts. When Butch started writing post-length comments, I decided the back seat was fine for me.

    9:54 AM  
    Blogger butch said...

    Hi Robin:

    I write my comments like playing Jazz --things go many directions. I cut and paste both for the fun of it and the hell of it. I also learn (a few things) from doing the research, as Anonomann has deftly pointed out. My expertise gathers around film criticism, metaphysics, and political sniping. So I do feel the part of the dummy when it comes to classical music, opera, and music in general.

    Thanks for piping up. I hope my rather lengthy rants and comments do not damnpen your own enthusiasm for expression. I spent several decades being out of Doug's sphere of influence and life. Now I am back in the grove, and it makes me feel somewhat more connected; to what I am not sure, possibly the "big picture", or "allthatis".

    So howdy, nice to hear you, nice to reconnect a tiny bit, and don't fuggettaboutit.

    Glenn

    12:30 PM  

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