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"In the city of my birth, I had a dream..."
Monday Entertainments (Would you believe that I got a ton of work done, too?) 
25th-Nov-2008 09:17 am
Teaching & Activism Lecture/Roundtable: Well, Stephanie Luce (UMass - Amherst) definitely gave me a lot of things to think about. Not the least of which was the importance of an expansive network across many fields (once again highlighting the importance of "taking time off" in order, if nothing else, to acquire one). Now I'm thinking perhaps that professors, especially the liberal ones, should proselytize in class. New evidence suggests it doesn't change students' political views, so why bother pretending to be unbiased? But in any case, we talked at length about how a commitment to social justice must come in addition to an academic career...and that, in fact, it can actually undermine one if you don't work harder than everyone else at the usual professional "publish or perish" duties. Swell. Still, let it never be said that I didn't go into my career trajectory with my eyes wide open. *sighs*

Let the Right One In: At first I was distracted by the injudicious use of special effects of questionable budget (especially when combined with otherwise lovely, atmospheric cinematography), but now, the more I have time to *ahem* digest the film's conception of its monster, the more nuanced and disturbing I think it is. By the end, for example, you aren't sure whether this was, as it seemed in the beginning, a tale of boy/vampire romance, or if that is just how her "evil" nature works to reel men (a.k.a. males) in. Suffice it to say that you see the protagonist's inevitable, eventual destiny in the first third--but you don't realize it until later.

Ghostlight Series: Julia Murney: Easily the best money I've spent on a concert or show to date. The hour was so late that Murney admitted at one point that even her mother refused to come, but that didn't matter. She had a good crowd, and although my back was against the far wall, I was still close enough to see the sides of her eyes crinkle when she smiled and cracked her repertoire of jokes. For a good hour, she performed a mixture of classic rock, showtunes, cabaret, and what you might broadly call "He Done Me Wrong" songs. The show opened with "Girl on the Verge (of a Nervous Breakdown)" and closed with "Fancy," a performance which was, believe it or not, miles better even than her awesome recording of the same on her CD. She also did "Dust in the Wind," an unexpected treat. Murney has this utterly distinctive--not to mention addictive--astringent, mournful quality to her voice, and a high, piercing belt that just lances through your skull. (Anyone who is curious can sample her entire album online here.)

I also owe my "date" for the middle part of the evening a debt of gratitude. Being with you gave me permission, in a way, to let go (as it were), and for a moment, I felt a profound inner stillness that comes when the anxiety all falls away. I think I made some mumbled, incomprehensible comment about this at the theater, but it's a point I feel I must reiterate: I haven't been able to do that in a long, long time--so thank you.
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