Monday, January 24, 2005

**Strong Language Warning**

Currently Watching
Baseball - A Film by Ken Burns
see related

Well, I almost wasn't going to add any babies today, but Jessica Varner came to the rescue with a couple of irresistibles of Jaden, the offspring of SpoonyLuv himself (am I out of the doghouse now?).

To add to the Ken Burns drooling... there's killer interview with him over at talking about his latest film, about boxer Jack Johnson. Here are some highlights:


AICN: I was talking about that with a friend of mine, and we were discussing how this film, the Jack Johnson story, might be the perfect story for you in the sense that with your other films, the more you know about the subject going in, the more criticisms you might have due to content issues. Why did you not focus on Tris Speaker enough, why so much Louis Armstrong, whatever, whereas with Jack Johnson it’s essentially a tabula rasa. Nobody knew the story, so nobody can nit-pick.

Ken Burns: That’s exactly right. Let me tell you this great story. I was in Racine, Wisconsin, and I was making a film on Frank Lloyd Wright and I was going through this wonderful Wright building on this tour, and one of the rooms had been remade into a gym. And there was one lone guy on a stationary bike pedaling furiously. And I just walked by on this tour, and the guy looks up and says, “My brother hates you.” And I look at him for a second, and I think to myself, “There’s no brother.” And I go, “Baseball, huh?” And he goes, “Yeah, how’d you know?” And I thought about where we were, and I said “Harmon Killebrew.” And he goes, “Yeah!”

Another one: I was walking with my then-fiance in New York a year ago, and it was a spring day on a fairly dark block in the Village, and you never necessarily notice people that pass by if you’re in a conversation, y’know? Anyway someone passed by, the only person that passed by on the entire block, and we got about 100 yards away, and I had to retroactively remember that we’d even passed somebody, because suddenly out of the darkness behind us I hear “What about motherfucking Mingus??!!!??” And my wife stiffened, and I had to go, “It’s OK, he’s not coming back.”

But that was great to me, it’s so great to me. Because one, he hadn’t seen the episode where we said Mingus was the greatest composer after Thelonius Monk and Duke Ellington in jazz. And it was a great scene, unbelievable. But that you can make an 18-hour film on baseball or jazz, and people are telling you what you left out! Eighteen hours! What it is, it’s the insecurity of knowledge.


Genius, man. Pure genius.

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