Monday, August 07, 2006

The Artistic Matador's Bratwurst

While I learned that Matadors can be tactical missiles, yachts, and naughty German skinmags, I was thrilled to recall this sweet 1977 AMC Barcelona coupe and most delighted to find this pencil drawing by Pablo Picasso from 1897 of Matador Luis Miguel Dominguin. Kind of proves my point in item 2 about understanding the artistic elements before distorting them.

It's always interesting to me how stories seem to run in packs. Or perhaps, it's simply because my mind is on a subject that I notice related items more easily, but that's a spoilsport take on it if ever I've heard one. Anyhoo, after a few days of aldermadness, lately it's gobbling mania.

1) Takeru Kobayashi, undisputed king of hot dog eating, decimated his competition in bratwursts (a much denser meat tube) in Sheboygan, Wisconsin last week. "Black Widow" Sonia Thomas wasn't close. Even the dogged Joey Chestnut, who for a few minutes breathed down Kobayashi's neck in the July 4th weiner race, ended far behind. Who can beat this phenom? I admire his undimmed magnificence, however, a couple losses would add drama to a comeback, no?

2) Lionel Shriver, having completed her 13th novel, is grousing about the hideousness of modern book covers without original artwork. Well, she hasn't been shopping in the scifi/fantasy shelves obviously, where hand-painted throbbalicious specimens of flesh and rupturing asteroids bring the bragging rights. She does make a valid point however:

Yet these hard-working and skilful designers have consistently turned a deaf ear to the author's entreaties that someone, please, sit down and draft some original art. You would think I was suggesting that they hop aboard the next Nasa shuttle and go collect moon rocks. I fear that, like so many recent art school graduates, most of these technologically nimble professionals do not know how to draw.

That is much more often true than when any course of art, even "graphic" or "multimedia," required grounding in the same fundamentals learned by artists from Leonardo to Picasso. But when technology morphs from tool into crutch for inadequate concepts and execution, the results are, colloquially speaking, shiteriffically yuckadoo.

3) I saw an excellent movie this weekend, The Matador. It was interesting and surprising and darkly funny. Also well-scripted, acted, directed, and edited- so there. At times, I'd get ahead of the moviemakers, judging some storytelling decision of theirs, only to be smacked back into my place by a turnaround I hadn't anticipated. Pierce Brosnan was fantastic as a crude geezhound and burned-out assasin. At one point, he needs convincing just to get to his feet. (It reminded me somehow of the pathos of Caddyshack when Ty confesses his jellied incapacity to Noonan, just at the moment they need to make the big putt.) This film was picked up by the Weinsteins at Sundance, and deserves a second life through DVD. Brilliance, I say!

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