I’ve never been a big hockey fan–I’ve always thought of it as one bag of laundry bashing into another bag of laundry–but it’s hard not to get caught up in the Blackhawks’ Stanley Cup victory. The victory parade starts at 10:30 AM Central Time, and there are reports that convenience and liquor stores across the city are running out of 40 ounce bottles of beer.
The let’s-stay-drunk-for-24-hours crowd will have to live it up while they can, because the Stanley Cup will quickly be overshadowed by the start of the World Cup in South Africa. There are some ordinary stadiums hosting the matches, but a few are far more adventurously designed than any stadiums built in the US recently. The US could get another chance to host the World Cup in 2018, in which case American architects could follow up on the giraffes and gourds in South Africa with some American design metaphors. Just as a Johannesburg stadium was refurbished into the Bird’s Nest, the Cotton Bowl could be redecorated in a cotton and cowboy motif. I’m not sure about buildings with a single controlling metaphor–buildings that want to be something else–so it’s nice to see that the Inland Steel building is being retrofitted to be itself–by Frank Gehry, of all people.
Jesse Richards wants to retrofit the cinema into what he calls the “remodern.” His manifesto calls for “a new spirituality in cinema,” which can be achieved if filmmakers embrace imperfection and Super8 film cameras. Richards cites Jean Vigo’s Zero for Conduct and Jean Epstein’s The Fall of the House of Usher as exemplary remodernist films. These are undoubtedly great films, and some remodernist films might be found at the upcoming Chicago Underground Film Festival, but the problem with all manifestos, Richards’ included, is that they always define an art form as one thing. Besides, do we need a low-res cinema at a time when cinephiles have to turn to DVDs in order to watch a decent copy of a film? In any case, perfection is an elusive quality. One can stare at Kiss Me Deadly for 16 years and still not find it.
Instead of remaking Zero for Conduct, how about a film adaptation of Tamil pulp fiction, which would make for some highly unusual summer reading. Even more unusual summer reading, I suppose, would be a book about film. If you’re looking for a change of pace after watching endless cable TV reports on the oil spill, PBS has a short retrospective on the work of Louise Bourgeois. If you find you like that sort of thing, or you’re trying to learn to concentrate more, you can learn about Gilles Deleuze and Chinese art.
As for me, as much as I’d like to go downtown to join two million very drunk hockey fans in re-enacting the play in which Blackhawks defenseman Duncan Keith lost seven teeth, I’m going to return home to quiet Wilmette to read my newly purchased Jennifer Egan novel and spend some time with my kids, who will not, I hope, be the last generation.