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Wednesday, January 24, 2007

High Lights And Plights

For once, I like the French better than the English: one has to admit that
Festival de Lumiere sounds much better, in all of its simplicity, than a rather defective attempt at making a play on words - "Montreal High Lights" - correct?

All I know is that it has been announced that
Misia, Monica Freire, Johnny Clegg and a plethora of other artists that all seem out of place in the (usually) cold months of February and March in a town like Montreal are going to be there to perform LIVE... Even thespian Amanda Plummer will be on stage, as a part of that festival...! What is she going to perform, I wonder, alongside musicians and singer/songwriters? That is but one of the many bizarre questions that arise from all this, actually...

For, indeed, Misia's presence on montrealer soil is perplexing. For there are already a lot of similar artists right there, around that so-called "metropolitan area" - the Sãos, Bïas and Bet Es are there. And yet, they are not enough? They are once more frowned upon in favor of the visitor... It is indeed an event in itself that an international star, of whatever kind or art, makes a stopover there, in the dead of winter to boot... To me though, all it says is that the artist in question has very poor management and/or advisers! "Anywhere but there," would have been my advice - "wait until the festival season really gets into high gear, in the summer months!" Now THAT makes a hell of a lot more sense! In the meantime, leave the stage to those artists who are already stuck in the damned winter season - the Sãos, the Bïas and the Bet Es! They don't get the spotlight in their own backyard - where are they supposed to be getting it then? They certainly will not be welcomed as divas over THERE - in Lisboa, Portugal - the same way Misia is going to be treated like a queen here...! This is, after all, not some kind of cultural exchange program... Is it? No indication whatsoever, anywhere on the program, that it might be...! So I will assume it is not - as it should not be!
As for Amanda Plummer's participation in all this; don't get me wrong now! I am quite a fan of hers! I think the world of her! Her jaw-dropping action scene in
Needful Things alone is enough to make a favorite of any luminous gent like me! Her equally luminous lines -and delivery of those- in many more of her films are as many reasons to love her! She is like her dad - an accomplished stage actress - I know it! But surely you've noticed my preference for her cinematic work...! Film captures a performance so well - no lines, no nuance in the performance, no mere gesture escapes the camera! And it all remains forevermore - almost! Stage performances are lost to the flow of time - lines are muttered and the audience will not hear them - and so forth... Actors belong in film - where they can move about without concerns such as "is the mic going to follow me; and will the audience?" And, on the flipside of course, musical performers are born for the stage, not film! Mixing and matching is asking for trouble - and, besides, I never cared much for the theatrics and histrionics of Amanda's dad...!
Thespians -just like international stars- should be keeping to their medium and proper stage, and leave the spotlight to the homegrown talent in such occasions as this "festival de Lumière"...

I was thinking back to the other local talents that were poorly treated in the area in question - none worse than composer
André Mathieu. Mathieu had been a child prodigy - but, once attaining adulthood, I guess that the magic wore off or something... And no one would give him a chance again! He would keep composing, but as a pariah from the "colonie artistique" and musical world, almost... Luc Dionne even says that he was ASSASSINATED - betrayed and let down by all of his so-called "friends" - his own father included... And then he died one day - in his late 30's I do believe, he just collapsed one day, out of the blue, just like that. Heart attack, if memory serves me right. And that was that. No one is a prophet in his own land - but this tragic fate was so easy to avoid. They named an artistic venue after him since, in Laval QC. Canada, where Bïa, at least, did perform a few times... Aside from that though, his community didn't do much for their "local Gershwin" as some called him (I would call him their Tchaikovsky - but that is another story... At least Mathieu was not half as screwed up as Tchaikovsky was...!)
In the immortal words of Clint Eastwood (only so because they happen to be on celluloid, though...) - "no one can do a thing if nobody gives him a chance."
Indeed, Clint E. - indeed!

André Mathieu had once told a journalist that he had wanted "to be in the daylight" - this was in response to the question "why did you title one of your compositions 'In The Night'?"
Such a moving reply was quite telling indeed.
The composition in question was just one of many illustrious compositions - he reportedly composed seven concertos - but only two have remained for posterity.
He also composed a concertino at the age of eleven which won him a prestigious contest in 1940 - Leonard Bernstein had finished 22nd in that very same event...

Since no one learns from the past anymore - what are artists to do?
Use another hackneyed line such as "make my day"...?

Or add to it, maybe: "somebody, make my day - please?"

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