Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Recommended Reading: Look Back in Anger

One of my favorite early '80s New Wave acts was the duo of Pal Shazar and Andrew Chinich, Slow Children. Their two albums have remained in mid-to-heavy rotation on the turntable around these parts since my high school years, and when I first began the New Wave for the New Week series over a year ago, Slow Children were among the bands that inspired the concept. They were the 9th entry in the NW4NW series.

While researching links for that blog post, I found Pal Shazar's current website, and through it I was introduced to the wonderousness of Shazar's post-Slow Children creative world. I had not heard her solo music before; now I wanted to find every release (still searching on some!) In addition to music, she has found expression through the written word (Penthouse Magazine published excerpts from her novel, Janitor) and through her paintings and illustrations. On top of it all, I discovered Pal has her own blog, Look Back in Anger. It has become a regular read for me.

Look Back in Anger
focuses on the imagery surrounding great films, and is as much, if not more, a visual blog as a written one. In each post, which often come in spurts of three or four in a day, Pal shares a photograph or maybe two or three and a brief comment. Each presentation pulls you right in and puts you in the picture, in the movie, or in the era. The level of feeling she is able to evoke with a few images and often a relatively stark economy of words is astounding. Shazar's blog is nostalgic without being maudlin. She does not mourn the loss of classic cinema and its icons; rather, she celebrates the fact that the medium in which they shared their talents with the world is one which allows us to continue to enjoy them today, and will afford future generations the same pleasure. She is both curator of history and siren calling you to step through a portal to another time and place, where the greats of the silver screen never age, never fade out, and never fail to entertain.

To say that I was happily surprised and honored when Pal Shazar responded to my request to be a part of this series would be putting it mildly. That is, I suppose, one of the more surreal aspects of the Internet: here is someone whose work I have admired and whose records I bought and loved for years, and here we are communicating not as fan and musician, but as fellow bloggers. Allow me to share Pal's responses to the Five Questions I've asked each blogger (please note that, as seen in her blog, her preferred writing style is reminiscent of e.e. cummings - no capital letters. I have kept that style in presenting her words here):

What or who inspired you to begin blogging?
PS: a friend who has a boutique (kaight shop nyc) told me that she lamented having to rely on others to update her website. she was unable to do it herself but she found that having a blog was much simpler. so, she created one on blogger and showed me how to do it. the very next day i created my film blog. i knew that my passion for films would be a lovely gift for others as interested as myself. plus, i am very visually oriented and there are just countless beautiful stills to share.

some of my least favorites experiences involved standing in a film rental place and looking at all the titles with my head swimming. if my knowledge of great cinema can spare one individual those moments of anxiety i will have made a useful offering.

as i like to write as well as paint, having a blog is a really fun way to be creative without investing that time with any ambitious thoughts! it is simply a gift for anyone who may stumble upon it. believe it or not, there are some people who have yet to see 'camille' or 'love with the proper stranger.'

Is there a story or meaning behind your blog or its name?
PS: the greatest (favorite) performance i have seen on film is richard burton's role as 'jimmy' in 'look back in anger.' what the british term 'kitchen sink drama' is exactly the style of film i adore. these films were made in the 1960's depicting individuals with great passion living in fairly grim circumstances. some of the terrific actors associated with these movies are: alan bates (a kind of loving) richard burton (look back in anger) and tom courtenay (the loneliness of the long distance runner). john schlesinger, joseph losey, and tony richardson are some of the directors who brought these tales to life in their exceptional black and white films.

Which post would you choose from your archives if you had to provide only one that best represents what your blog is all about?
PS: rain/tears: powerful concoction, my blog's namesake

When you first log on to your computer each day, what is the first site you go to? Why?
PS: i like to check into one or two culturally driven information sites and see what's up with the world.i also love to peek in on fashion.

What one other blog would YOU recommend that you read regularly, and why?
PS: there is a guy named tom sutpen who has a blog called 'if charlie parker was a gunslinger, there'd be a whole lot of dead copycats.' if you google his name you can easily find it. he is a culture lover and always posts great images. it is very inspiring to see faces and places that are gone but not forgotten. i am regularly amazed by how many people in their twenties are so passionate about early cinema. of course we all love james dean, but so many people are praising the talent and personality of people such as carole lombard. indeed she was one of the most incredible comedians. it was a blogger in her twenties who brought to my attention the great actor lon chaney.

I hope you will take the time to visit Look Back in Anger and spend some time there. Seldom in today's jaded world do we get the chance to be swept away such as those classic movies could offer. Escape a bit into that world, and you just may find yourself going back to visit again and again.

My most sincere thanks to Pal Shazar for her willingness to be a part of this series and for taking the time to share her thoughts with us!

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1 comment:

  1. thanks for your insightful pal shazar series! she is a cinema goddess who shares her love and education to all movie and music fans and future appreciating readers.