Around and about: video edition

November 10, 2010

Time has been short of late, but here are some interesting things I’ve come across:

  • Another volume in Dylan’s Bootleg Series was released late in October.  This one, Volume 9: The Witmark Demos, is a 2-disc set of early recordings. Some of the 47 songs are familiar from Dylan’s early records, though they are given here in different versions, and a fair number were previously heard, also in slightly different versions, on the Bootleg Series, Volume 1. Even so, this is a wonderful collection. Dylan was in his early 20s when he wrote the songs, and we can hear him trying his hand at the various genres of American roots music. Not all of the songs are of the highest quality, but many are very good, and that voice.
  • Speaking of Dylan, the bad boys at Korrektiv have dug up a project from a few years back called Gotta Serve Somebody: The Gospel Songs of Bob Dylan, in which gospel music luminaries tackled Dylan’s overtly Christian songs.  It sounds terrific. 
  • Speaking of gospel, I have been listening a lot lately to Mavis Staples’ recent record You Are Not Alone, and I am loving it. Here is the title track in a spare arrangement.  Jeff Tweedy is on guitar, but it’s the voice and the song that are the real attractions: 
  • Speaking of attractions, the teenaged girls of the world and I were anticipating Taylor Swift’s latest record, which dropped a week or two ago, and has since sold gazillions of copies. There’s nothing on it quite as beguiling as “Love Story”, but it’s a good record that, on balance, I think I like better than its predecessors. The critics, too, have generally seen fit to praise rather than pan.
  • Speaking of pan, I came across an interesting panel discussion on the theme “The Imagination of C.S. Lewis”. The participants are Douglas Wilson (who recently co-published a book with Christopher Hitchens), N.D. Wilson (who is currently writing a screenplay for The Great Divorce), and Alan Jacobs (author of The Narnian). It’s a wide-ranging conversation, touching on Narnia, the Space Trilogy, Planet Narnia, the film adaptations, Tolkien, and other topics, from people who know what they’re talking about. I found it worth my time. [Unembeddable, but viewable here.]
  • Speaking of Narnian film adaptations, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader will be released in just a few weeks. This will be the first film in the series not directed by Andrew Adamson, so there are perhaps some grounds for hope that it will capture the Narnian magic better than its predecessors did. We’ll see.
  • Speaking of magic, David Bentley Hart, who surprised me some months ago by recommending a book called The Secret Commonwealth of Elves, Fauns and Fairies, follows up with a short philosophical essay inspired by garden fairies.

10 Responses to “Around and about: video edition”

  1. Janet Cupo Says:

    I read David B. Hart’s essay last week and I loved it.


    • cburrell Says:

      The short essay is an art form, and that essay is one of the better examples that I have seen of late. Artfully done, and with something to say.

      • Janet Cupo Says:

        This is my favorite line:I was stunned; his words pierced me to the core. Where on earth, I wondered, had he acquired this dreadful superstition? Who had corrupted his eleven-year-old mind with the abominable nonsense that science had somehow “discovered” the nonexistence of nature spirits, or that modern empirical method could ever possibly be competent to do such a thing?

        When I read it, I immediately emailed it to someone else.

        I’m really impressed by your wood-chopping accomplishment.


  2. Janet Cupo Says:

    I’m thinking about not going to Dawn Treader, although I would like to SEE it.


  3. cburrell Says:

    I’m on the fence too, though when the time comes I anticipate being unable to resist. My curiosity will get the better of me. I’m worried, though, because the ending of that book is so beautiful, and so against the grain of Hollywood, that I fear they are going to steamroll it.

  4. cburrell Says:

    I’d seen it, but not found time to read it. I think I already understand what he’s going to say. I will try to read it before the film comes out. Thanks.

  5. Mac Says:

    Re Dylan & gospel: a few years ago when Dylan was getting some kind of award–Grammy maybe? I’m not sure–Shirley Caesar sang “You Gotta Serve Somebody” and Dylan leaped out of his seat to applaud at the end. I think in some incoherent way he believes. I also think that’s a great song.

    I haven’t read that “Narnia Invaded” essay yet. I didn’t see the second Narnia movie. I thought the first one was pretty good up to a point, that point being the battle, which became the pretty standard ridiculous Hollywood deal. But for some reason I wasn’t enthusiastic.

    • cburrell Says:

      I thought the second Narnia movie was a little better than the first, though I think I was in the minority in making that judgment. There was still a lot of fighting, but then there’s fighting in the book too.

      Somehow neither of them quite took off, and I am hoping that the new director will be able to do something special with Dawntreader. Hoping, but not really expecting.

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