Last Friday Houston was host to **SNOWPOCALYPSE 2011!!** that engulfed our fair gulf city, effectively bringing Beltway 8 and my mother (in town with dad for business) to a complete halt. So when I got a call from Paul, Keith and Zach to see if I wanted to hang out, my evening was as free as Interstate 45!
I got over to his house and the first thing he says is:
Paul: So… do you know who Yann Tiersen is?
Me: The name sounds familiar, but that means nothing really.
Paul: He’s the guy who wrote the music for that French movie Amelie.
Me: *mouth wide open* OMGILOVETHATSOUNDTRAAACK!!
Paul: Oh, so then I guess the answer to “Would you be interested in going to see him perform at Fitzgeralds later tonight, then?” is going to be a… … … “yes”?
I don’t remember exactly when I first saw Amelie, but I do know that it actively changed the way I watched movies. Suddenly I was noticing the subtleties of cinematography, the way shots were composed, how long scenes would last until being cut to a different camera angle, the use of color, and (more relevant to this particular post) how a score can effectively enhance the viewer’s experience. As you can see from the poster to your left and the film trailer above, this movie is where color saturation goes to binge. Think of it as Snookie at a Spec’s… but with ultraviolet tanning booths.
The use of reds, greens, blues and yellows was inspired by Brazilian Artist Juarez Machado, and it’s actually something that always comes to mind when I’m decorating my apartment. I know it sounds rather, I don’t know, pretentious to say that “this movie changed the way I see the world,” but it kinda did in both a literal and metaphorical way.
Also, don’t believe me about my apartment? CHECK OUT BELOW!!
We had a couple of hours to spare, so we watched the most recent episode of 30 Rock, a couple of backlogged How It’s Mades, and grabbed some Tex-Mex for dinner. As we were pulling up to the place I realized that I had been here before when I first moved to Houston and hung out with Brad and Michele the first time. Except… it has two different stage areas and we sat downstairs for about an hour listening to a god-awful rock band wondering where the hell the act we came to see was. (The answer is: upstairs in the main stage). Needless to say, I wasn’t going to let us make that mistake.
We found a pretty good spot to the left of the stage near the (quite paltry) merchandise station. The guy manning the table absolutely looked like he didn’t want to be there and we all started joking around that it was probably Yann’s nephew, who, after his father died in a tragic bus accident, was shuttled away by his mother (Yann’s sister) so that he could have a good father figure in his life.
Dani Tiersen: Drifter of the first order (Also, I’m not sure why this looks like a still shot from The Shield)
We also all agreed that, if ever there were to be a movie made about his life, that Meryl Streep should be cast. Need I remind you?… I think I shall!
The opening act was S. Carey, whose sound we can best equate to music written by a pod of whales trained by Rufus Wainwright in an aquarium run by Philip Glass.
Me: What did you think about that first act?
Paul: I mean it was nice, I guess. Very “chill”. I could have a conversation during the performance without A.) straining my voice [always a plus for singers] and B.) having to feel guilty about it.
During the long intermission (that’s what it’s called at a concert, right?) we took the chance to eavesdrop on the clientele. Or as Zach put it: “Geez, I feel like I'm in an episode of Skins—the British version, of course. Not that bastardized new MTV one.”
WATCH OUT TEENS!!!! The Parents Television Council is after you!!!
One Christmas I went to Wal-Mart with my sister-in-law, Joanie, and while waiting in line she of the statistics background asked: “I wonder what percentage of people here are shopping for Christmas presents and what percentage are just here for every-day items.” I had never really thought of things that way (my non-sequitors are generally seen through a pop-culture tinted lense). Now when I am in large groups of people and trying to kill time I will ask a similar question.
Me: How many people here do you think watch How It’s Made.
Paul: Oh wow, probably not many. How many people here do you think are teenage couples awkwardly holding hands?
Me: Hmmm, definitely more than my question. OOH, I wonder how many people here both watch How It’s Made AND are a teenage couple awkwardly holding hands.
If only there were some way that we could visualize that raw data.
The break also gave us an opportunity to peruse the scenery, noting that the barn-turned-concert-venue feeling would lend well for a dinner theater experience, which quickly spiraled into our planned mounting of a musical version of the 30 Rock episode we had seen several hours previously.
It’ll be this decades The Producers, I promise!!
There was much excitement when Yann made the stage, the most emphatic being a fellow Frenchman screaming out something in their native tongue. I really wanted to yell something out as well but my French isn’t that good. About all I could muster was: “JE M’APELLE JOSEPH!!” “ICI-BAS!!!” “LE SANGE ET SUR LA BRANCHE!!!!!!!”
At one point he pulled out a violin for an intro to one of his pieces, which always reminds me of my friend, Clinton, who said every time he used to play at his church in Lake Jackson someone would inevitably come up to him afterwards and say something like: “Yeah yeah, that Mozart was real nice BUT… can you play “The Devil Goes Down to Georgia?!?!”
As Zach noted, it was interesting to see what music he performs when not in the context of a certain character or cinematic mood (ie: the whimsey and fantasy of Amelie’s Paris). The whole time I was there I kept wishing that my former roommate, Lembit, could have been hanging out with us. I always loved when he would just stroll around the house playing his accordion and sing-narrating whatever was happening: “Your saaaaauccccee needs more cummmiiiiiiiinnnn” or “Joseeeeeepphhhh, your laundry [dominant chord] is *dramatic pause*… FINNNIIISSSHEEEEDD [minor tonic chord]”. Basically he was our very own wandering Amelie soundtrack long before Yann was even in the picture.
So once again a fantastic evening (and yet another shattered mirror of a blog post) was birthed from equal parts free evening and social happenstance! Unfortunately I once again forgot to get pictures of the four of us for the blog… so in our final WTF?!? moment, with the magic of photoshop and the pilfering of facebook I’ve taken some pictures from my dear friend, Heather’s, wedding last year when she had a photo boot at the reception and made an Amelie homage. (Note to former brides—DO THIS!!!! It was fantastic!!) Also, as I am not friends with Zach and Keith on the fb I had to do the best I could…
(With special guest star body, Nancy Brooks!)
Artist: Stephen Sondheim/ Album: Assassins
BONUS ROUND!! As I was leaving the concert I spotted a classmate of mine from High School, James, across the dance floor. We were headed out the door at the time and I wasn’t able to say hi to him, but in a bit of serendipity he was actually at Heather’s wedding as well and got a shot in the photo booth. So, sorry I couldn’t chat, but I’m giving you a blog shout out!!!
Heather and James
Dean Franco Rains