Weekly Rochester Events #256: Halfway to the Next Power of 2
Thursday, December 4, 2003I guess there's two changes to the page this week: an addition and a removal. First, it seems that MP3.com is gone. It appears that CNET bought them and has decided to delete the free music library for all the bands that had submitted their work. In response, I removed the MP3 links (and that lovely icon I made a while ago) from the various bands and updated the key at the bottom. I also took away the icon. In its place, I added a "source" indicator for each entry where I can put in the source where I found out about the particular event.
Anyway, I bought the Catching Out DVD from the official website and watched it a couple times in the past week. This is one of the films I didn't get a chance to see at The High Falls Film Festival this year. I did, however, talk with the producer/director Sarah George a few times. It's about the people who hop freight trains, but she described it in the somewhat cryptic phrase, "a meditation on freedom."
See, if someone told you they saw a movie about hopping freights, you might expect to see a bunch of details about the mechanics of the process, like getting past security, where to eat, where to sleep, and how to ride, with some details about several of the people. Catching Out does the opposite and touches on the details only tangentially as it closely examines the personalities of several riders. In some respects, it attempts to answer the question of "why" much more deeply than that of "how."
I guess it's not really "why" that is asked, but what is living?—what is freedom? Most of us just assume that the only way to live is within the gilded cage of society. We're offered limited freedoms and security, and pay with this intangible thing we like to call "responsibility." Before I go off on that too far, let me just ask why do we own anything at all? I mean, consider that you should just be able to go into the woods and make a little shack and eat food that grows in the area—so, to whom, exactly, does your money go to when you pay for your shelter? What exactly is responsibility anyway? Is it worth it?
The film compares the collective knowledge of the audience to the selective experiences of the subjects. That is, most people live life according to the "normal" societal rules (otherwise, everyone would be hopping freights, right?) On the other hand, if you spend your life sitting on freight trains moving from town to town, what's your life like? It's interesting to see the absence of discussion about things that concern the rest of us: money, job, home, career, retirement, taxes, television, movies, etc. Without any of that, what's there to talk about?
I also liked the methods employed. Most of the documentary structure repeats the introduction of another person then alternates between the primary interview and, usually, footage of the landscape out the doors of freight cars. It's unbelievable to see the scenery where there is no reason for commercialization. It's like a "reverse action photograph," in a way: the subject is stationary but the photographer is racing along. There's also several stellar examples of rail-oriented time-lapse photography used to punctuate the segments.
Oh, and the music was expertly selected and top-notch as well.
So anyway, speaking of hopping freight trains, I added a new T-shirt design to the new General Funny section of my CafePress store. Hopefully I'll receive the one I ordered soon ... it's just the "CAUTION: GRAVITY" sign on the back and the JayceLand logo on the front pocket. I think it's pretty funny.
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Internet Movie Database
On this day ... December 4
Store at CafePress
Buy some JayceLand junk at sky high prices!
Rochester Music Coalition
Rochester Goes Out (D&C)
Rochester Punk Rock
WGMC Jazz Calendar
Kids Out and About
Copyright © 2004 Jason Olshefsky. All rights reserved.