Thank you hardworking mystery internet craftsperson. I will plunder your efforts to spruce the blog! Saw Alice tonight and could not get Madonna out of my head so it was such a relief to get home to google and find someone else had seen my obvious vision that Johnny Depp was doing a cover of an insane Madonna. They’d even taken it a step further to create a Madonna doing a cover of a mad Madonna. The internet is magic.
Also I kept getting distracted in the movie, which was obviously designed to hold the attention of the most radically attention deficient. So where does that put me, doctor?
I couldn’t stop thinking about the Shakespeare show I saw last week and how billions of dollars of special effects are nice but just can’t compete with well realized, surprising theater. No matter how 3 dimension and well defined and immersive technology becomes it’s still just a really good trick trying to mimic the even better trick of live performance. It’s the same with good music. A recording will never capture the magic of a really good live show.
Case in point. I’m already losing my memory of how brilliant Johnny Depp/Madonna was on the screen with his perfect facial orchestrations. But I can’t get the image out of my head of this guy we saw months ago on our trip to visit the primas in Los Angeles. We were doing the tourist thing on Hollywood Blvd. The four of us pulled up at an intersection and there he was, a perfect Edward Scissorhands cover-actor. The beautiful thing was that even though the windows were up and chances of us tipping the man were dismal, he stayed in sad eyed character, just staring at the four of us with a pained expression as he and his scissorhands crossed to safety. He killed us with his pathetic adorableness. And he was real, sort of and relatively speaking for a product of LA. Anyway it was a real, shared experience, and isn’t that what we’re trying to have when we pay for that ticket stub? Sort of and relatively speaking.
So here’s my shout-out (Custard Pie rules!!) to the cover versions of musical and motion picture moments we love. Its practitioners may never make it as original artists and achieve the fame and fortune that successful copyrightable performance can bring. But a powerful juju courses through both “real” and imitation artists and bands that can never be reproduced in digital or analogue, because every live performance is an original experience within which we can both lose ourselves and remain happily present.
Take it from here Ani:
“People used to make records, as in a record of an event- the event of people making music in a room. Now everything’s about cross marketing and shoes. Or guns and knives you choose.”
OK. She goes a little melodrama with the guns and the knives. There is a really good sword wielding scene in Alice, in which Alice is portrayed by a cover of Gwyneth Paltrow. Some very fine jaberwocky slaying indeed.