What I’ve been watching

1. Da Ali G Show: The Complete First Season.  Is there a more powerful comic genius at work today?  This British would-be gangsta rapper has at least four hilarious personae; Yana’s favorite is Funkyzeit mit Bruno, a gay Austrian fashion designer.  Or imagine a funnier Howard Stern interviewing Newt Gingrich, Dick Thornburgh, Ed Meese, and Reed Irvine.  His repeated portrayal of a hapless Kazakh man seeking sex has drawn repeated protests from the embassy; it is now what the country is known for.

2. Laibach: The Videos. Laibach was one of the leading Slovenian punk rock metal industrial fascist-mocking groups of the 1990s (the sentence is not a joke).  Their Let it Be album redoes the Beatles, and their "Across the Universe" is my favorite Beatles cover, with Joe Cocker as a close second.  But note: their Nazi-Wagnerian jackboots reconstruction of "Get Back" will send most of you running away.

3. Goodbye Dragon Inn, The first line of dialogue does not come until about halfway through this 80-minute movie.  And much of the film is you watching other people watching a movie, how is that for meta?  It is about the passing of the old Taiwan, the transitory nature of observation, the power of the image, and the fundamental sillness of watching a movie through.  Not since Tarkovsky has a director used sound and silence so effectively, nor is anyone so good with restroom scenes.  It is a help, not a spoiler, to tell you that the two old men are also (much younger) characters in the movie on the screen.  Tsai Ming-Liang is one of the world’s seminal directors and this is one of his leading entries.  Short enough to endure, even if this is not your cup of tea, and maybe you will love it as I did.


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