". . . But the past does not exist independently from the present. Indeed, the past is only past because there is a present, just as I can point to something over there only because I am here. But nothing is inherently over there or here. In that sense, the past has no content. The past -- or more accurately, pastness -- is a position. Thus, in no way can we identify the past as past." p. 15

". . . But we may want to keep in mind that deeds and words are not as distinguishable as often we presume. History does not belong only to its narrators, professional or amateur. While some of us debate what history is or was, others take it into their own hands." p. 153

Silencing the Past: Power and the Production of History (1995) by Michel-Rolph Trouillot

Thursday, January 1, 2009

First Entry of 2009

It is a frozen day. I just now made brunch. We are moving very slowly around here, partly because it is cold, and partly because we didn't get back until very late. Haven't done that in a while. It was a networked Haitian Vodoun New Year -- all the houngans here in NYC timed their actions so they would all be doing / calling / invoking / blessing the same things at the same moment all around the city.

It was a special New Year's eve. For one thing I was in company with four of the people I love most dearly -- Vaquero, of course, the Houngan Artist that Vaquero first met in Buffalo back at the end of the 70's, Houngan Artist's Haitian mambo wife, and Editor Amiga. I felt so much last night, sending and receiving.

We've been invited to a couple of open houses today, but staying in feels more attractive. We've got the movie, Band of Angels (1957), based, probably loosely, on the novel of that name (1955) by Robert Penn Warren, with Yvonne de Carlo playing the beautiful slave and Clark Gable, the slave trader who buys her and sets her up on his Louisiana plantation. Sidney Poitier is also in the movie, a highly educated black man that Gable rescued when a baby in Africa during his slave trading days. I've never seen it. I don't think it's been available on dvd until recently. Vaquero saw it several times when a little boy and is eager to see if the actual film matches his memories of it. We also have The Court Jester (1957) -- Danny Kaye in 12th C England.

I made posole yesterday, which was one of the most successful posoles I've ever managed. Posole is one of those stews that's even better the next day. We have tortillas and cheesecake and beer and bubbly in the refrigerator. Omar Sosa's wonderful cd is playing – A-FREEcanos is one of my favorites this year. Vaquero's happily composing his favorite recordings of 2008 essay for Da List. Outside it's only 25º, the open houses are far apart from each other, and seem far away. It feels so nice in here, and we are feeling so very lazy.

Happy New Year!


Premium T. said...

We watched The Court Jester a couple of weeks ago and I was charmed beyond belief. Danny Kaye is a riot!

K. said...

You'll love The Court Jester! We watched it a couple of months ago on my father's recommendation. You just don't see physical comedy like Danny Kaye pulls off any more. It has a great double talk scene as well. Enjoy!

Renegade Eye said...

I saw The Court Jester when I was a kid, and it was a new movie. I believe it was in "Cinemascope."

I love Danny Kaye's work.

Foxessa said...

Premium T, K, Ren -- I'm looking forward to watching this even more so with your recommendations. When I was a tad in NYC and working in publishing, my boss was Danny Kaye's sister-in-law, so I heard a very great deal about him (he was married to her sister). But oddly I've seen very little of his work.

Band of Angels was a far better movie than we expected, though it did include a lot of those Confederacy mythological lies about the Union, about black people, about Louisiana's occupation, etc. There were scenes right out of the Birth of a Nation playbook. First half is fairly faithful to RPW's novel, though it skips over certain things like the marriage of Amantha' father, and that sort of thing. When we get to New Orleans things go whole 'tother directions.

However, the wardrobe made for Yvonne De Carol is breathtaking. Such beautiful gowns. There is one of royal blue which color hardly anyone could dare to wear, but De Carlo can and does. These gowns don't look dated either, so very well are they created, while looking as period as the furnishings of the homes and other accessories.

The restoration the film from which the dvd transfer was made is superb. It looks as it must have looked on the screen when it was released.

But back then it was both a box office and critical failure.

I've never seen a Hollywood film take on the subjects of slavery that Band of Angels does -- not before and not since either.

Love, C.