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Monthly Archives: February 2022

This past Friday saw the release of a new single, “Stark Geography,” from Tired of Triangles, the on-and-off solo musical concern of mine that began sometime in the mid-2010s. This song, which will most likely factor into an album at some point, can be downloaded on Bandcamp here, as well as streamed on Spotify here, and on YouTube (see video below).

The first Tired of Triangles CD, Up at 4 A.M., was less a definitive statement from me than an attempt to just put together a listenable enough batch of songs that would explore sentiments ranging from “angsty” and insular, to something akin to wee-hour jubilation, however subdued. This is relevant here because “Stark Geography” covers similar territory moodwise, though in this case the shift in tone occurs within a single piece rather than from one song to the next.

Have to duck in here for a second and give a tip of the hat to famed Italian actor Monica Vitti, who passed away today age 90. In her 35-year career Vitti acted in everything from arthouse titles to zany comedies, not to mention the occasional film that combined the two like Buñuel’s The Phantom of Liberty. Predictably enough, it’s her most well known work with Michelangelo Antonioni that I cherish above all. Am talking here about the monochromatic “Alienation Trilogy” (L’Avventura, La Notte, and L’Eclisse) that ushered in sixties European cinema like a lion (albeit an artfully understated one), as well as Red Desert, a colorful film that came out a couple of years later and directly addressed the toll one’s environment might take on her psyche.

These works have always been somewhat divisive—they are complex, visually involved treatises on “adult” issues, largely within the bourgeois sphere, whose meanings can be elusive for many viewers. Ever since L’Avventura’s premier at Cannes in May of 1960, some in the film world have loved them while others have found them rankling. To someone like me who’s probably seen too many movies for his own good, I can say with confidence that I find this spate of films enduring and nothing short of essential. In conjunction with the films’ strong sense of place and eye for social observation, Vitti’s attenuated beauty, her demure and charisma, has a lot to do with why they’re exemplars of mid-century modernism, the kind of cinema that hadn’t quite existed until then. Simply put, Vitti could be a stunning presence, with facial expressions that could say more than words, often hinting at a discontent or longing under the surface.

While film culture is full of all sorts of underdogs and unsung heroes (behind and in front of the camera) who are worth exploring, in due time, there are some personalities who’ve left a huge mark on it and should be lauded as such. Monica Vitti is one such figure, the sort of actor who worked her way into many a cinephile’s DNA…and we’ve never been the same since. She will be missed.