Dramatic Humming

TV/DVD: Six Feet Under (redux) — The HBO series I followed all but religiously—or in its case, maybe better-said “to its death”—came up on On Demand and I’m starting through it again (I must be six or seven times through The Sopranos by now). Does this mean I’m boring and have few other interests? (No … really.) A video artist friend of mine, John Sanborn, had a theory called “visual humming”—imagery that bore repeated viewing, even invited it, stuck in your brain. The long-form quality TV series idiom that HBO largely pioneered in the US has “dramatic humming.” You want to see it again. You see more the next time through. (And the whole idea of foreshadowing so vital to great movie plots gets even greater utility — and is used well—in these series.) Six Feet Under starts with the death of the father of the Fisher household, also the paterfamilias of the Fisher & Sons funeral business, all housed in a large throwback of a Los Angeles house. First time I saw it my father was alive. He has since died (and I am so glad, though the funeral viewings and services at Fisher & Sons are indeed a trip, that he was cremated and we just had a memorial service). My changed context draws new meanings and gains new insights (especially within my current context) from watching the first six episodes again (and even without the difference in my life, still would be wonderfully engaging second time through). How much other TV can you say that of—that second viewings seem almost better, certainly enriched on another time through? (The re-viewing also makes me better understand why some people I know aren’t—maybe yet—so taken with Six Feet Under creator Alan Ball’s new series, True Blood, given how masterful and even innovative Six Feet Under was. Writing this after two episodes of Blood, I’m pretty much sold, if even only by the brilliance of Anna Paquin’s lead as a Southern girl waitress with the ability to hear people’s thoughts, and despite, in the second episode, a horrid mangling by one actor of the deliciously euphonious Louisiana Cajun accent.)

CD: oh skies of grey by Dana Falconberry — This plug comes with the requisite full disclosure that I wrote this artist’s PR bio (I’ve been fortunate of late to do so for some wonderful albums, which makes my work for hire all that much more enjoyable.) Falconberry eschews calling herself a singer-songwriter, but does have a voice that is incredibly alluring and songs that I simply cannot get out of my head, and don’t want to. She defies genre to make what’s simply really damn fine music that’s rich with heart, poetic resonance and organic musicality. I sense a significant new musical artist here who resists comparisons to be nothing other than who she is.

From The Progressive Populist, November 1, 2008

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