Sunday, December 25, 2016

A Christmas Special

This year I discovered the LDB (Little Drummer Boy) game where you try to make it from Thanksgiving through Christmas without once hearing the Christmas carol. I was doing quite well, even with groups like the splendid SF Conservatory Brass Ensemble playing on street corners in the neighborhood all month. The fatal moment was walking by the San Francisco Opera House one afternoon where an old man busker with a very good baritone transitioned from "Come, All Ye Faithful" to the dreaded Drummer Boy. LOST!

We went to a perfect Christmas movie on Friday, La La Land, which I was expecting to dislike because so many Facebook Friends had declared themselves "disappointed," but loved it. There were about 100 ways for the movie to be a disaster as it tried to recreate the early 1960s Jacques Demy French musicals in contemporary Hollywood, but they got it mostly right, with beautiful art direction and long Cinemascope takes. An incidental pleasure was how Ryan Gosling looked like a dead ringer for New Zealand opera singer Hadleigh Adams throughout the film, though Hadleigh has a better baritone.

To add to the seasonal joy, Netflix was showing a 90-minute episode of the TV series Sense8 in what was billed as "A Christmas Special."

At a website called the A.V. Club, Rowan Kaiser writes an amusing appreciation entitled Sense8’s Christmas special is the most Sense8 to ever Sense8.

He writes: "Let’s bear in mind that for many, the turning point of the first season of Sense8 was karaoke to one of the most cliched songs in the English language, “What’s Up” -- and then the Christmas Special goes and one-ups that in terms of earnest cliche that somehow actually engenders the exact emotional reaction it’s aiming for! (It’s also entirely possible that the song picked for the Christmas scene wasn’t originally “Hallelujah”--it is not diegetic in any way, meaning it could have been chosen after Leonard Cohen’s death specifically to act as an emotional capstone.) Combine this with the global dance party AND a new orgy scene, and the “Christmas Special” was clearly making a play to be the most Sense8 thing to ever Sense8."

The series is being produced by the moviemaking Wachowski siblings who used to be brothers and are now sisters. Their vision of a multi-racial, multi-gendered, sex-positive global community, starring beautiful thirty-somethings, may be one of the silliest, hopeful and most transgressive shows ever aired on global television (it seems that Brazil has gone crazy over the show). If you haven't checked it out, do.


Stephen Smoliar said...

For what it is worth, I think this is the first year that I won the game (although it involved a very hasty change of channels away from the Music Choice Jazz channel on XFINITY, of all places ... jazz recordings really are NOT what they used to be)!

Civic Center said...

Congratulations, Mr. Smoliar.