Monday, April 18, 2011

Entry #7

A quick browse of my blog's 2011 archives thus far reveals a significant and troubling drop in frequency of posts.

While work commitments account for part of this trend, I also admit to neglecting this site somewhat.

A case of blogger's fatigue? Perhaps. But considering my intent to divert personal writing efforts to 'less frivolous' pursuits, it's anyone's guess when the next entry will pop up.

However, rest assured that if there's something worth discussing - especially if it's a Kevin Spacey-related event - the updates shall continue. :)

Recently, through the kindness of a fellow KS fan, I was able to download the entire Nancy Hanks lecture which was delivered by Mr. Spacey in Washington, D.C. a fortnight ago. Picture resolution wasn't great, but the sound quality was terrific, and that's all that matters to me. :)

If you haven't seen it, go to the link provided in my last post. If your computer - like mine - for some strange reason, refuses to play the video, drop me an email and I'll try to send the file to you directly.

Once again, Mr. Spacey delivers a beautiful speech, this time for a heavenly 40 minutes, which is 4 times the length of his usual TV interviews, and twice the length of his chat with Channel NewsAsia when he was in Singapore a few months ago.

However, this lecture is of course very different from an interview. Mr. Spacey has the stage all to himself for the entire duration, speaking on a topic that is near and dear to his heart. It is a powerful speech, its impact strengthened by Mr. Spacey's obvious passion for the arts, as he shares many personal experiences from teenhood all the way to his full-fledged career as an Oscar- and Tony-winning actor.

I am also very pleased to learn about the upcoming launch of the Kevin Spacey Foundation, as well as his support for artistic talent in the Middle East.

When he became my all-time favourite actor more than a decade ago, my appreciation was directed mainly at his acting / singing / directing talents. Now, he is described as a 'political activist', The Old Vic's 'artistic director', and 'founder' of an organization that aims to provide opportunities for others to succeed in film and theatre industries.

I am deeply awed by this gentleman. :)

Also, I watched Casino Jack last week. A hilarious movie in spite of its actual content ( lobbyist Jack Abramoff gets nabbed for breaching ethical codes, embezzling funds and getting mixed up with shady characters ), with a hysterically funny performance from Mr. Spacey.
Watch out for 2 key scenes where Abramoff acts out like a 5-year-old - when he gets fired, and while pitching a movie idea to producers.

Next on my to-watch-once-available list: another comedy starring Mr. Spacey, titled Father Of Invention.

Something else that's been making me laugh really hard: Mary Roach's Spook, which I chanced upon while browsing the Paranormal section of the public library. ( Yes, believe it or not, the library has a Paranormal section. :))

Why was I there, you ask? Well, I've been fascinated by things of this nature since I was a kid ( blame it on a personal experience which haunts me to this day, pun intended ). But a decision to take on a legitimate writing project led me to explore this genre further, and Roach's book caught my eye immediately.

I'm already more than halfway through, and hooked to the point of reading way past my bed-time, or whenever there's a free moment.

It is, quite simply, one of the best books I've read in a very long time. Probably not since John Berendt's City Of Falling Angels, which was maybe 4-5 years ago. ( Berendt's my favourite non-fiction author; fiction honour goes to Thomas Hardy. )

Roach writes fluently, though you need a very good command of the English language to follow some of her lengthier sentences. What I find amazing are (1) her detailed and tireless research, which take her around the globe, even to the point of enrolling in 'medium school', (2) an astute eye for minutiae, especially physical idiosyncrasies ( the more eccentric, the better ), and best of all, (3) an uncanny ability to turn the mundane into side-splitting, laugh-out-loud observations, through the simple use and manipulation of the written word.

The most entertaining of the lot ( up to the current bookmarked page at least ) involve well-aimed jabs at scientists ( quite a few of whom are medical doctors ) who conduct crazy experiments in their search for proof of the paranormal, various kooky theories about the authenticity of ectoplasm ( 'vaginally extruded' tickling my funny bone repeatedly :)), amd more kookiness at a medium school in the UK ( at a legitimate university, not some New Age nut's home ).

I've opted to leave specific quotes out of the picture, because this is a book that needs to be - that MUST BE - read from beginning to end, in order to savour the full effect of Roach's rapier-sharp humour.

It's always such a pleasure to discover a new author whom I can follow obsessively. While John Berendt figures out the subject for his next novel ( which, based on his 1-book-a-decade pattern, will be published no earlier than 2015 ), Roach shall keep me company.

Before I sign off, I'd just like to express great excitement over the soon-to-be-released X-Men: First Class, starring the accomplished James McAvoy. Woohoo! :)

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