November 29, 2002


The first in our nearly-annual Thanksgiving movies, Solaris is a fascinating, and thought-provoking mind trip, in the mold of 2001: A Space Odyssey. 2001 uses the unknowable cosmos as a platform to ask: Who are we on the galactic scale of things? What's the next step in the evolution of Mankind? Solaris uses a mysterious celestial object as the catalyst to ask: Who are we but a sum of our experiences? Do our memories make us who we are?
While a scientific crew orbits Solaris, (which resembles the star gate from 2001, but in slo-mo), Solaris populates their ship with incarnate memories from their dreams. They're not human or alien, they seem to only be a physical manifestation of their subconscious. Understandably, the mission falls apart, and the space agency sends Chris Kelvin (George Clooney), a shrink with a slowly-emerging backstory, to save what's left. The sequence where Kelvin first falls asleep and dreams of his wife (Natascha McElhone), who then becomes incarnate onboard, is spellbinding and scary. Director Steven Soderbergh (who also photographed and edited, and exec produced the film, and adapted the Stanislaw Lem novel for the screen), reveals the story slowly, just slow enough to let the viewer put the pieces together on their own, but not too slow to be boring. It's almost as good on TV as it was on the big screen, but be sure to turn off all the lights, turn up the volume, and let the movie wash over you. I especially enjoyed the Cliff Martinez score, and Philip Messina's understated production design.

November 23, 2002

087: Ex Libris Anita Curleigh

087The Title: This mix was created when my wife and I first started dating. We had silly faux-English nicknames for each other, and her nickname was "Anita Curleigh". I borrowed a bunch of her CDs for this mix, which led to the title.
To create the cover art, I took my teenage head off, and pasted it onto one of my favorite photos of John Lennon. I added tint to my eyeglasses too.
  1. The song "Pressure Drop" from The Specials was taken from the Grosse Point Blank soundtrack. I added some dialog from Minnie Driver and John Cusack too.
  2. One of my favorite R.E.M. songs is "I Believe"
  3. Van Morrison "Back on Top"
  4. Aretha Franklin "Rock Steady"
  5. The Police "On Any Other Day"
  6. The Pursuit of Happiness "She's So Young"
  7. Fountains of Wayne "She's Got A Problem"
  8. Dave Edmunds "I Hear You Knocking"
  9. Beastie Boys "I Don't Know" is a non-rap, semi-instrumental, totally boring track from Hello Nasty.
  10. Sheryl Crow "Home"
  11. Tori Amos "Mr Zebra" is a short and silly Beatlesque track from Boys for Pele.
  12. Joni Mitchell "River"
  13. I always liked the combination of Christine McVie and Lindsey Buckingham's voices on Fleetwood Mac's "Hold Me"
  14. Counting Crows "Rain King" (live and acoustic)
  15. "Ripple" is the one and only Grateful Dead song I have ever included on a mix.
  16. World Party "Put The Message In The Box"
  17. Stevie Wonder "Hey Love"
  18. From John Lennon's LENNON box set, this is a live recording from an Elton John concert at Madison Square Garden: Elton bet Lennon that if "Whatever Gets You Through The Night" reached Number One on the charts, Lennon would sing it with Elton live in concert. Lennon lost the bet, and this recording is the result!
  19. The Band "Acadian Driftwood" from The Last Waltz

November 22, 2002

Standing in the Shadows of Motown

standingElectrifying and fascinating. Gave me a whole new appreciation for the music and the musicians behind the Motown sound. Because the Funk Brothers were a totally faceless group, the success of Motown was too often credited to the singers, the songwriters, and Berry Gordy. (Kendall Square Cinema)

November 14, 2002

Don't Look Back

dontBob Dylan, introducing his new rock and roll on the world, while his conservative folk-loving fans lash back in betrayed anger.

November 9, 2002

086 Personally

  1. "Take Me I'm Yours" Around the time of this mix, I saw Squeeze singer/co-songwriter Glenn Tilbrook live at the House Of Blues.
  2. "On A High" Duncan Sheik
  3. "Boys Of Summer" Don Henley; featuring Mike Campbell on guitar, who also co-wrote the song.
  4. "I Tried To Rock You But You Only Roll" Interesting story here: singer-songwriter Leona Naess enjoyed a brief period of "it girl" status in the early 00's. Her father was billionaire shipping magnate Arne Næss, Jr, who was married to Diana Ross during Leona's adolescence. This makes it hard to take her seriously; not to play class warfare, but her dad was a billionaire! Naess has released four albums (on three different labels) between 2000 and 2009.
  5. "Baby, Now That I've Found You" A cover of The Foundations R&B classic, by Alison Krauss & Union Station.
  6. "The Moth" I really really like Aimee Mann. She's the complete package.
  7. "Jesus, etc." Wilco
  8. "Dirty Work" Heard the Steely Dan song on the soundtrack to the biopic The Kid Stays In The Picture.
  9. "This Is What I Do" Rhett Miller
  10. The song "Wounded Horse" by XTC reminds me of...
  11. "Oh! Darling" The Beatles
  12. "Army" Ben Folds Five
  13. "Day After Day" Badfinger is a truly sad story. Two members of the band committed suicide, at least partially due to business conflicts and lawsuits connected to the band's finances.
  14. "Back In The Saddle" Aerosmith
  15. "Born To Run" Bruce Springsteen; this is live solo acoustic version from the Chimes Of Freedom EP. Recorded April 27, 1988 at the Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena.
  16. "Strange Condition" Pete Yorn
  17. "Blue Sunday" Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers
  18. "(You're So Square) Baby I Don't Care" Glenn Tilbrook covered this Elvis Presley song at that show in 2002 (see #1 above).
  19. "Country Comfort" Elton John, from Tumbleweed Connection
Packaging Notes: the cover photo of Elton John and Bernie Taupin is from the CD packaging of Tumbleweed Connection. The album uses the pale yellow-on-brown monochrome color scheme throughout, so I decided to co-opt that look for my mix CD too. The number on the train carriage was actually 98, I  rotated the "9" 180 degrees and moved it after the "8" to make Mix 86.

November 4, 2002


comedianDocumentary about Jerry Seinfeld, writing all-new material after retiring his old stuff. Thoughtful insight into the work of stand-up comedy. Funniest trailer of the year. (AMC Fenway 13)