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Sunday, January 25, 2004


'Has it been a month?' I ask myself.

Yes, it has, and don't be getting to thinking that I did that on purpose. It is entirely a coincidence that this post takes place exactly one month post-yuletide festivities. Thus saith Steve.


So... how y'all been?

OK then, dispensing with the formalities, I will finally post links to the most recent TRW articles. "Finally!" you cry. Or maybe not. But what the hey, the paper publishes again this Tuesday (which incidentally marks the semester's commencement, hurray), so I'd best do this now before I get too terribly behind in my shameless self-promotion. Can't have that, can we?

Machines & Humanity: Neo's Final Showdown in The Matrix Revolutions
Steve Wiley
Retriever Weekly Staff Writer
The draw of the 1999 surprise mega-hit The Matrix lay in two key elements: its groundbreaking, jaw-dropping special effects of course, but also in the questions that it raised. At its core was the already bandied-about what-if that seemed to be waiting for just the right time in history to reach mainstream culture: "What if the physical world is a computer-driven lie and reality, a hideous, meaningless non-existence, is hidden beneath our subconscious?"

The exploration of this and other what-ifs, including the introduction of doubt into the concept of "The One:" Neo, a.k.a. Thomas Anderson, hacker turned messiah (played by Keanu Reeves) was found in The Matrix Reloaded, the rather coolly received second leg of the trilogy, released just six months ago. Many fans were turned off by that movie's reliance on computer-generated visuals and a script laden with some sequences that plodded along and dialogue that seemed to consist of confusing Socratic psycho-babble.

With what is supposedly the final chapter to the franchise, The Matrix Revolutions (*** out of four), the writer-director team the Wachowski Brothers have toned down their penchant for philosophical brain candy and pretty much kept the focus on the characters and the consequences of the events that unfold.



Epic Russian History Brought to Cinematic Life by The BSO
Steve Wiley
Retriever Weekly Staff Writer
Thundering across the icy lake, hundreds of warriors fill the projected movie frame, clashing furiously in the climactic battle scene from Alexander Nevsky, a classic Russian film for which the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra recently provided terrific musical accompaniment. A simple, but sweeping story of a 12th Century Prince who rallies his troops to defend the motherland against Teutonic invaders, the film provides interesting insights into the time and place in which it was made.

The year was 1938. Europe stood on the brink of war as Adolph Hitler's Nazi regime threatened to engulf the continent. To the east, the Soviet Union, 20 years after the Bolshevik Revolution, under Josef Stalin's iron fist, was gearing up for what seemed an inevitable confrontation, making nationalistic solidarity the highest priority. What this meant for filmmakers like Sergei Eisenstein was in effect a gag order on any artistic output not in line with the state's concept of patriotism and party loyalty. In other words, the edict from on high was to make rousing, glorious propaganda for the masses, or suffer the consequences.

What's remarkable about Eisenstein's film, made during those precarious times, is that it transcends its dictated goals of hero-worshipping (although it does plenty of that), and has become recognized universally as a genuine epic, thanks in no small part to composer Sergei Prokofiev's magnificent score.


Oh yes, and I mustn't forget:

UMBC Jazz Band Gets The Resident's Walkers A'twistin And A'turnin
Steve Wiley
Retriever Weekly Staff Writer
On a brisk Sunday in November, a few dozen residents of Harmony Hall, a retirement community in Columbia, were treated to a special afternoon of toe-tapping music, courtesy of UMBC's Jazz Band, in their first gig of the season.

Ten members of the ensemble, all clad in black, were able to come and perform a set of classic tunes. They were led by band director Jari Villanueva, who also lent his talent to the group of musicians on the trumpet. Though their bass players and a baritone saxophonist couldn't attend, each member of the troupe did his or her best to contribute to a jumpin' and jivin' kind of atmosphere.

After quickly setting up instruments and music stands, the band charged ahead with the first number, John Coltrane's "Moment's Notice," as arranged by Army musician Mark Taylor. Once Villanueva gave the signal, it began with a few brief drum hits, and then the full band got into swing, with horns ringing out and cymbals crashing energetically. The whole room lit up with smiles in response, the air filled with the catchy, up-tempo beat.

Hmm... I now realize that in my second paragraph of this rediculous blog scribbling, where I noted so very ironically, that "
It is entirely a coincidence that this post takes place exactly one month post-yuletide festivities.


Well, let me now state entirely without deliberate irony, that it was completely a coincidence that the word "post" appeared twice in the same sentence.

It just bugged me, that's all.

Not that that had anything to do with my TRW articles or anything.

Signed sincerely, your somewhat annoyingly neurotic and pedantically inclined blogger,

P.S. Thank you always for sharing smiles, dear Nicole. May we never see a day without laughter and may each moment be warmed by love and care.



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