Under The Skin Ennui
Last night I felt like I had a bit of attention deficit disorder as I was restless and couldn't quite decide on what to watch, and I think some of that ennui came about from watching Under The Skin, the newest SF art film. In it Scarlett Johansson plays an alien seductress who prowls the streets of Glasgow, Scotland in search of male prey. Not exactly a novel idea, as early SF films started out with a similar aliens or monsters need a mate tropes (Queen of Outer Space with Zsa Zsa Gabor, Creature From the Black Lagoon, or more recently, Species, etc.). At any rate it's a slow film, without much dialogue, so don't expect Transformers or Michael Bay, or really much of a plot. I sort of knew this going into it, but I was still restless.
So I channeled surfed a bit while watching Under the Skin, and landed on the Cartoon Channel. There I found some interesting anime. Attack on Titan was about these large alien creatures, the Titans, (that look like large human giants) stalking the land and eating humans. The humans are trying to stave them off. The rebels use these jet packs, and tactics to defend their fortress. I'm catching the series in the middle? of it, so it's not like I have the full story.
I'd go back and catch Johansson's alien striptease, then back to anime. Space Dandy is a more comedic anime, about a bounty hunter-type character, that cruises the spaceways for adventure with his robot and alien cat-like companion. Last night they were fishing on an alien world for a mythic fish, wherein a reward/bounty was offered for its capture. Very stylistic art, sort of psychedelic, Sgt. Peppers/ Yellow Submarine-like, pretty light on content, allowing the art to shine, but a pretty interesting series.
There were a couple of other animate cartoons on there I'm interested in, but it got late so I taped them for later: Blue Exorcist, a newer Batman series, and some Cowboy Bebop, which I probably haven't seen, though I've seen some of the earlier episodes of Cowboy Bebop, and they are a lot of fun.
Today, I'm putting together some poems or designing a short program for a spoken word program for the Apex Theatre 20 here in Tyler. I'm more or less going into this blind as I don't know much about it at all. I assume it's a collective of like-minded individuals that are getting together to see if the Tyler community will support such an event. They had one last month, and I didn't attend, but I've decided to see if it will be worthwhile, and hopefully will meet a few people in the process too.
The theme for tonight's program is compassion, so I have a few things I've assembled to accommodate that theme. I think I'm going to read a poem by the Japanese poet, Toyohiko Kagawa, a humanitarian author, who worked in the slums of Japan and saw disease and other human tragedies. He was converted to Christian faith after his parents died, and then adopted, and though his poems speak of the terrible plights of the people in the slums, there's also a hope in his poems. He was nominated for a Noble Peace prize for his writing.
The other piece is prose written by Frances Nail. It comes from her book, Crow in the House, Wolf at the Door. It's written about her growing up in a small rural part of Texas. Her two brothers died while quite young in their teens, one was hit in the head playing baseball and developed meningitis, and the other developed pneumonia. It's about their absence, and her remembrances of her family during those growing years. She's a writer that started writing late in life around the age of 70, and was later found by the Houston Chronicle, who later started publishing her work, which is now collected in books. She's also a visual artist as well. Her stories are very personal and highly readable.
The third selection I may read (still deciding) is a poem I wrote for my cousin, Mark. He was shot during the University of Texas tower incident on August 1, 1966 in which Charles Whitman shot and killed sixteen people and injured and wounded thirty-one others. Mark was the same age that I was when this happened (age 16). My family had just moved from East Texas to West Texas when it happened. Whitman first killed his wife and mother by stabbing and shooting them, and then killed the woman that was the receptionist at the Tower. As he was setting up his arsenal of firearms along the top of the tower to begin his shooting spree, my aunt and uncle and cousins had headed up the tower to sight see. At that time it was a noted landmark. After the incident, they closed down the Tower, and I'm glad that they did at least for a while.
They've since opened it back up, and the last time my sister and I were in Austin, we visited the Tower. They now have armed guards on duty when you pay for tickets at the bottom of the building, and you go through a metal detector to get in as well. I had such an eerie feeling as I rode the elevator up to the top of the Tower, and then walked the final steps up to the landing. One of the things that I found different from the way that I had imagined it was that I thought there might be more room up there, but it's barely wide enough to squeeze around two people along the walkway going around the Tower. In my mind, I thought the landing was more spacious. The tour guides told a bit about the historical aspects of the building and tower, the large clock at the top, and the lightening system that is used when UT plays football, but omitted the Whitman incident, which I can understand.