SOUNDTRACK: ANDREW HEWITT-“A Boy Held Up with String” (2014).
It opens with some fast violin runs that seems to be racing each other, until about twenty seconds in the piano takes over the runs, but with a high note that keeps the pieces grounded (in the air somewhat).
The end of the song is primarily the piano with violin swirling around on top of the melody.
It actually feels like an introduction to something epic, but as with most scores, 75 seconds is all you’re going to get out of this cool, dramatic piece.
You can hear it here.
[READ: June 5, 2014] Over Easy
I saw this book at work and more or less ignored it. Then a few days later I saw a review of it in somewhere and decided to read it.
This is a graphic novel about a young artist making ends meet at a diner in Oakland, California in the 1970s. The back of the book says this is a fictionalized memoir (which I hate because, well, let’s just call it fiction, huh?).
Margaret is an art student. As the story opens, she is in a diner, the only one there, when a guy named Lazlo starts talking to her. He is funny, cleverly dressed and probably high. (He claims his full name is Lazlo Meringue). Margaret is broke and knows that most waitresses hate poor students, but Lazlo is willing to take one of her drawings in exchange a meal. And a friendship is born.
A flashback shows us that Margaret grew up in San Diego. When she graduated high school, she didn’t want to do anything, but was forced to go to college–so she chose Art school at San Diego State. Then she moved to Oakland, and got mired in the art scene. In which punks were starting to push out the hippies. And the center of it all was the Imperial Cafe (the diner in the first scene).
She says that you can discern the various culture who came into the cafe by the drugs they took: Professional crowd (cocaine); punks (speed); hippies (pot). And since she could no longer afford school, she felt that she could do worse than working at the Imperial. Lazlo says she has to tell him a joke or a dream and if he likes it, she’s hired. Her joke is quite vulgar and she is welcomed as Madge. Her first job is washing dishes and scrubbing out all the shit. It is backbreaking and strangely satisfying.
But she finds that she has entered a scene that is long established and she is on the periphery–the men in the place don’t give her much credit or time, and the women basically look down on her. She feels like there’s something wrong with her–that nobody gives her a second look. Eventually she does manage to snag a guy, and she is pretty excited by it, until he proves to be very lame. All the while, there is a perpetual string of drama with the staff at the diner and she vows not to get mixed up romantically with anyone.
Madge works hard, dreaming of moving up to waitress. And eventually when the drama spills over, she is asked to move up. And she is terrible. But she improves and starts enjoying the work even more than she imagined. Once she gets enmeshed with the long time workers at the Diner (she gets invited out for drinks!), she learns that there’s a lot going on behind the scenes (primarily drugs). And she works on weaving in and out of the scene, all the while trying to keep her sanity and dignity.
There are some very interesting characters in the story, but most of them are low level drug dealers and users. And by the end of the story I was a little bored of the pedestal that these minimum wagey guys were placed on. There’s very little about them that is worth speaking of, so her delight with them is puzzling. I enjoyed the beginning of the story but by the end, it just felt like the point of the story was that her small little isolated scene was the best place in the world with one “isn’t it fun to get high” story after a another. So that grew a little dull and a little closed-minded.
As for Pond’s drawing style, it remind me a of Roz Chast whose style I don’t particularly care for. It feels deliberately sloppy and almost half-finished to me. This is clearly intentional and I get why she does it and the effects she is going for, but I don’t find it appealing. So overall I enjoyed it, but I got tired of it by the end.