metallica, modern dance, and march madness

Just had coffee with a lovely young woman who’s getting her M.A. in Performance Studies at Northwestern. It’s good to know that I’m not just imagining things–every high-level academic theater program in America promises to converge theory and practice, and doesn’t, not really.

Last night, watched the Metallica documentary, Some Kind of Monster, which follows a two-year journey of the world’s most famous metalheads recording their most recent album, St. Anger, as they lose their bassist due to creative differences, lose their lead singer to rehab for 9 months, sell multimillion dollar art collections, sue Napster, and ultimately, come out on top again.

Apparently, Metallica hired the documentarians to produce something for VH-1 to compete with “The Osmonds,” and then decided that wasn’t the direction they wanted their careers to go in, so pulled back, bought back the rights to all the footage, and this the result. For a great review, read Andrew O’Hehir’s for Salon.com. He always seems to say pretty much exactly what I’m thinking about any given movie (including Confessions of a Dangerous Mind).

Amazing levels of verite going on in the documentary, not surprising given Metallica’s business sharps vs. the directors’ storytelling chops and eyes for personalities. Ben observed that the only characters who seem real are the surprisingly frank, unselfconscious Metallica members–especially next to the walking stereotypes who populate the rest of the movie–the overaged producer “Bob Rock”, Phil, the creepy therapist/performance coach who over time starts thinking himself as part of the band (starts saying “we” instead of “you guys”).

I missed day two of the first round of the NCAA men’s basketball tourney to see ODC Dance do their latest at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts. They’re athletic, great dancers–and Anne Zivolich was stunning in the final piece, “On A Train Heading South,” a kind of meditation on global warning (the set consisted of huge blocks of ice hanging from thick black ropes, and the entire piece the ice melted onto the stage).

I think I might have rather watched basketball. I mean, they were great. It’s not just the basketball. I’ve been spoiled. (see next entry).

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