newest entry 2001-07-29 6:43 p.m.

I know you're all dying to know what I thought of Planet of the Apes.

Let's back up. I need to insert here that I have thing for all things simian. When I was a child, before my obsession with music kicked in, I was obsessed with chimps, monkeys, apes, orangutans, every variety of old- and new-world primate on earth. Space Monkeys, too, orbiting earth! Jane Goodall was my hero....(Diane Fossey: not so much. Gorilla nerd.) I kept scrapbooks full of monkey photos and drawings, and wrote short stories about monkeys. I still belong to a monkey-news-group. And there hasn't been a truly good ape film since...well...the first P/o/A (Charlton Heston's annoying jawline notwithstanding). So I was ripe like a mushy banana for a new chimp-flick.

So AMA, myself, and my friend FilmThreat reserved tickets at the Ziegfeld (which is such a swellegant place, all red velvet and crystal chandeliers, that almost any movie seems better there) and settled in for a wild monkey ride. Erm, um. Except that 20 minutes into the movie, I was checking my one point, I think I even dozed off. I was underwhelmed. I adore Tim Burton, but there was no sign of Burtonishness at all in this film--it was as generic an action thriller as there ever was. The makeup was incredible--the actors had to express themselves chiefly through their eyes, and everyone did a bang-up job. But MarkyMonkey Mark was bland and personality-free here.... the story was boring and unaffecting...the ending was a jolt but made no sense at all. FilmThreat, AMA and I walked around for about 30 minutes afterwards trying to justify the ending, without much luck. So, reader, see this movie at your own peril.

Other than that, today was one of those somnambulatin' around Manhattan lazy-ass days...Walking through Times Square (we had on our way back downtown) I was apalled at how all the street vendors now are franchised. There are no original craftsmen or mimes, everyone's got either a Peruvian band, or they're a gold-painted human statue, or they're writing out names in that new Asian style of letter-painting. At one point we watched a fellow spray-painting a picture of a NYC skyline on paper, and were impressed with his technique. I said, "Finally--something unique!" Then we turned the corner, and there was another guy doing the exact same thing!

But, after all this complainin', let me be positive: I love New York with all my heart. I still love monkeys with all my heart (they move me more than babies do--am I sick?). I am happy to be alive. Speaking of which, after we got home I went for a jog listening to Kate Bush's The Dreaming. Wot a classic! "Just as we hit the green I've never been so happy to be alive..." I finished My little Blue Dress last night. I have that empty feeling of having just lost a companion...and I'm not anxious to fill the void out of respect for what I felt for that companion. The book fell apart a little towards the end, but I appreciate what Bruno Maddox was trying to do...there's a luminous bit towards the end that explains his whole approach to life that I found myself relating to rather scarily. A manic bit about keeping one's options open to the point of avoiding being photographed because you don't want your identity fixed in any one way....One could read this novel in yogic terms: the hell of ego and the impermanence of our identities.

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