Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Winter Light, Winter Dark

There is something about early February that can always be tricky, especially if you live in northern California. We don't have a real winter here, but we have the rainy season. It doesn't get cold here (some idiots here call 45 degrees "cold"). But it gets wet, and we are deprived of my favorite type of light -- winter light.

The light in winter is so precious and stingy. I despise sunny, summer days, and I usually can't stand having direct sun on my skin -- except in winter. It is so delicate and precarious, hopeful and faint.

Winter Light is the title of one my favorite Bergman movies in which villagers question their faith in the nuclear age. I've been watching a lot of Bergman this winter -- currently on Wild Strawberries. It doesn't depress me, especially in the winter. Winter Light is also the title of one of my favorite Linda Ronstadt albums. While I will concede it's not her greatest, I think it's her most under-rated work. It's all about the warmth of home on a cold night, a beacon in the snow, to my mind at least.

Besides watching the Kurt Gerron bio-doc Prisoner in Paradise (dark, sad, fatalistic) I've been listening to a lot of Brecht and Weill. I became entranced by Brecht and Weill around age four when my pre-school played an instrumental version of the tunes from Die Dreigroschenoper. These two figured heavy in my life before Peter, Paul & Mary or the Beatles and still play a larger role. Brecht and Weill are perfect tunes for mid-winter nights, like a defiant cold fist in the face of adversity.

I have been transferring some of my favorite Deutsche Grammophon LPs of Weill and Brecht, especially those with Gisela May. Ah, Gisela May! No one holds a candle to Lenya's Weill recordings except for May.

There seems to be so much sadness and uncertainty in February -- from J.D. Salinger dying to those Teabaggers meeting in Nashville, like Weimar vermin trolling through the grave of Reagan to yank shreds of his rotting brain from his crypt in Simi Valley. All that talk of reviving Jim Crow literacy requirements and denying voting privileges to all non-English speakers and "celebrating" Reagan's 99th birthday. Watch out folks, are you ready to stomach a Reagan centennial next year that will culminate in 2012 right on target with the cataclysmic Mayan calendar? There was recently a move in the Bay Area to rename Mount Diablo to Mount Reagan. Wouldn't that be redundant? If it's called Mount Diablo, isn't it already named after Reagan?

But let's not dwell too much on the dark. Only a little over 1,100 cretins attended that teabag gig. Spring is around the corner. And there is plenty more Brecht and Weill to lift one's spirit

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At 5:33 AM, Blogger willow said...

Winter Light's now on my Netflix queue.

At 7:51 AM, Blogger Ladrón de Basura (a.k.a. Junk Thief) said...

Willow - Don't drink vodka in the rain while watching it. Just saying...


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