Sunday, March 08, 2009

U2 - Magnificent Live on David Letterman

This is my favorite tune off the new U2 album. It's truncated, and Bono is losing his voice to an extent, but it's still cool.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

U2 No Line on the Horizon out today

I got my copy of the new U2 album from Amazon already. I've just finished my first listen, and so far I'm impressed. I'm also looking forward to seeing these guys in concert, as is Cynthia. They have some clunkers of course, but I still find their recent, and not very frequent, albums generally very impressive and not just a nostalgia act.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Mitch Fatel

I saw Mitch Fatel last night at the Tempe Improv. What a fantastic show. He had a packed crowd on a Sunday night and I talked to him a few minutes after the show. Cool dude and great comedian.

How does anyone hit major league pitching?

The weather hit like 90 degrees, so it seemed like a pretty good time to take in my first Cactus League game. There is a real quiet to the crowd, which was small, and an intimacy to these games, at least versus the regular season. I was able to get right up on the bullpen, where I remain astonished that anyone can get even a foul tip in major league baseball. The ball comes in like a blur, and this guy throwing isn't exactly Nolan Ryan by major league standards. Omar Vizquel, the wizard at shortstop, was the big attraction for the Indians fans.

Monday, March 02, 2009

The Wrestler is a haunting film

I'm not a fan of professional wrestling, and other than a brief period in the early '80s, never was, but the movie "The Wrestler" blew my mind. A week after seeing it, the stark realism of this film, most notably in its highly relatable and sympathetic main character Randy 'The Ram' Robinson, still haunts me. Wrestling is the backdrop, but the movie is really about being lost as a person, clinging to the familiar, simple survival in a rapidly changing world and searching for human connections.

Randy pursues a stripper nearing the end of her run named Cassidy, played brilliantly by Marisa Tomei. Her embrace of change stands in contrast to Randy's more innocent and naive approach to life. Both use their bodies to make a living, and time is the enemy of both, but the difference is Randy genuinely loves what he does and can't think of what else to do. Cassidy doesn't like what she does, but can't think of what else to do, either.

The fact that the movie is set in New Jersey, and filmed in a particularly grim winter with a typically plain yet powerful Springsteen tune as its theme song, adds even more -- at least for me personally.

The film displays much insight into what the real world of professional wrestling is like -- especially on the "has been" circuit in local school gymnasiums, as well as the physical toll the sport takes on a body. Wrestlers often find an early grave, which is documented here. I remember attending a few of these bouts at my local high school when I was a kid. I recently watched the extensive Charlie Rose interview with Mickey Rourke and the actor really does come off as similarly chastened and longing to "get back" as the character he plays. This was one of the best movies I've seen in a long time.