Sunday, June 26, 2016.
By MICHAEL WALSH
It spoke to me the moment I saw it.
In early April 2016, Garth Spencer sent me a copy of his personalzine, Art of Garthness #12. There, on page 10, was British artist Helen Green's drawing of Dorothy Gale and Alice sitting by the side of the Yellow Brick road. The illustration was captioned "I've seen some weird shit."
Here was the perfect addendum to my Reeling Back motto, "Everything Old Is News Again." It summed up my experience of this website project to date.
I decided to make Ms Green's wonderfully serene image the screen saver on my desktop computer — the first thing I'd see signing on and the last before logging out. Google Images obliged with nearly 100 variously-sized JPEGs, with the caption available in a variety of typestyles.
I selected the version shown above.
Good morning, ladies. What weirdness are we discussing today? Perhaps we're sharing our wonder at the many ways Krypton has shifted in its orbit in the short year since celebrity businessman Donald Trump declared his intention to seek his nation's highest office. How quickly he went from a late-night comedy punchline to his party's presumptive presidential candidate.
Or, perhaps, we're asking the question "Why Orlando?"
On June 10, in an incident eerily reminiscent of the motion picture Nashville, a 22-year-old pop singer named Christina Grimmie was shot dead following a concert in Central Florida's self-described City Beautiful. On June 14, two-year-old Lane Graves, the son of a vacationing family from Nebraska, was killed by an alligator as he waded in shallow water on the grounds of a Disney resort hotel.
Their stories are tragic brackets to the June 12 murders at Orlando's Pulse nightclub. Forty-nine people died that evening in the single largest mass shooting in the U.S. in this century to date. Statistical analysis tells us that such incidents have risen significantly in recent years, with the result that Americans are bracing themselves for another long, hot summer.
On June 20, the summer solstice came and, on June 23, Britain went. The surprise outcome of the 2016 "Brexit" referendum in the United Kingdom may be an historical turning point on a par with the 9/11 event. British voters' choice to leave the European Union will have far-reaching consequences, many of them unintended.
Dorothy, Alice and I have seen some weird shit. We expect to see a lot more. In the meantime, I'll take a day or three off to prepare for Canada Day and the next package of Expo 86 features. Site visitors are invited to check out the eleven most recent Reeling Back postings:
MASALA — A 2002 poll by the British Film Institute voted Indo-Canadian writer-director Srinivas Krishna's complex, comedic 1992 debut feature "the Best Film of the 20th Century from the South Asian Diaspora." Gods and delinquent youth offer sharp social commentary on the multicultural moment. (Posted June 23)
DANCE ME OUTSIDE — Based on a short story collection by W.P. Kinsella, writer-director Bruce McDonald's 1994 feature examines the reality of First Nations in Canada. The tale turns on parallel conspiracies, one played for comedy, the other biblically serious. (Posted June 21)
POCAHONTAS: THE LEGEND — The alternative to Disney's cartoon musical, director Danièle J. Suissa's 1995 live-action melodrama was filmed on location in Ontario. Sandrine Holt plays the Native American princess whose romantic choices come at a price. (Posted June 20)
BENEATH THE VALLEY OF THE ULTRA-VIXENS — Taking time out from film reviewing, Roger Ebert collaborated with director Russ Meyer on the screenplay for this 1979 satirical comedy. A full-frontal assault on American pop culture's obsession with sex, it delivers a full measure of flesh and fantasy. (Posted June 18)
THE AMATEUR — Though not a success during its original release, director Charles Jarrott's 1981 spy thriller is now considered "ahead of its time." Its focus on political terrorism added passion to the action genre's preferred cool distance. (Posted June 16)
CHARLES JARROTT — Personal responsibility and his Canadian connections were among the the topics I discussed with the British-born director during our 1982 interview, a conversation that followed the release of The Amateur. (Posted June 16)
GONE WITH THE WIND — Based on a 1936 best-selling novel, director Victor Fleming's sprawling 1939 melodrama became its own cultural phenomenon. Viewed today, its take on the U.S. Civil War and its aftermath is considered by many to be an example of epic racist trash. (Posted June 14)
THE ATOMIC CAFE — Assembled by a trio of dedicated documentarists, this 1982 feature offers a look at the popular culture through which the post-Second World War generation viewed its world. It shows how the U.S. created, then learned to live with, "the Bomb." (Posted June 11)
DOC HOLLYWOOD — Channelling cinematic populist Frank Capra, British-born director Michael Caton-Jones cast Michael J. Fox to play the title role in this 1991 small-town comedy. Funny and moving, his picture examines what it means to be beloved. (Posted June 9)
MINDFIELD — A specialist in fact-based drama, director Jean-Claude Lord based this 1989 thriller on an infamous drug-research program the CIA conducted in Montreal in the 1950s. Lisa Langlois and Michael Ironside play a couple who discover a terrible truth.(Posted June 6)
SHAKESPEARE ON THE HOLODECK Quiz — The focus is on Vancouver-produced television shows in this quiz that invites site visitors to match a selection of Bard on the Beach alumni with their performances in science-fiction series roles. (Posted June 3)