Ashes of America, thoughts on Wilco…

Tonight, Neil and I went to see the new Wilco film, Ashes of American Flags.

It was playing at the Northwest Film Forum, up on Capitol Hill, where the arts are. I have been looking forward to this release for quite some time, looking forward to going to the cinema and taking a few moments out of my life to enjoy a documentary. This is something I don’t do enough of, yet I, like most of you, spend time in front of the tube, trying to gain enjoyment from shows like Lost, 24, etc… Let me tell you that we are wasting our time. That become evident tonight as I was watching this band, this Wilco band, play and discuss life in Hi-Definition. It felt good to be alive.
There is something about this band that I just have this connection with– it’s difficult to explain if you have never gotten that experience from music. The high comes from the simple fact of being in the aura of greatness. To be with a group of people who are on that journey of righteousness, where what they do is coming together so perfectly that it really doesn’t matter who’s watching or paying attention because they know that the music itself speaks more collectively and timeless than they ever could.
The film just makes you enjoy that moment, sitting with a great friend, living it together.
The film, out on DVD on Tuesday, features a number of performances across their trip through the southern US, last summer. Places like Mobile, Alabama, New Orleans, Tulsa are all featured as the band blazes through the south. Lili and I had the pleasure of seeing them in the early summer last year and it was very similar to what you see on this DVD.
The main focus is on the music, with a little documentary style conversations blended in. The combination leaves me wanting to hear more details about what really makes this band tick so well– such a dizzying array of musicians working together in what appears to be unison– it almost seems to good to be true– and maybe it is. Tweedy alludes to the possibility of another switch in the band being possible, “but not John”, a reference to bassist John Stirrit, who I think is the only original Wilco member now, sans Tweedy.
Regardless, this band seems to be at the peak of their performance–it doesn’t seem like it could get better, but as Tweedy’s Dad says at the end of the film, they just keep going and getting better and better.
Well said.
If only there were more moments like this one.
Hope you’re all well.

..thoughts of Iran…

..Iran, a country that is so hated and feared by the U.S.
Like most of our enemies, we know nothing about who these people are or what they are about. Even in all the studies in College I took regarding the Middle East, we didn’t spend much time on Iran.
Tonight, Rick Steves shows his trip to Iran. 15 days of carrying around a high defination video camera, people fearing him as much as he feared them. What comes out of it is really good glimpse into a county that we know nothing about.
“Here is a country that seems so conservative to us, but they are just trying to keep their youth from being Britney Spears!”– ok, maybe that is a little crazy, but the point is well made.
What a stimulating, visceral show this is– touring through Tehran– a crazy city that reminds me of cruising through Beijing– a city that has the same stereotypes, but since we do business with them, we see them differently than those crazy Iranians….
Just something to ponder…