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Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Your Modifications To My Minimalist Manifesto?

Though it may be duh-worthy, my preference for minimalism, at least with respect to my favorite art forms, escaped me until quite recently.

As happens regularly, this dim insight came into sharp focus following a conversation with my wife. She was describing her mild impatience with the speeches that masquerade as dialogue on "The West Wing" and Adam Sorkin's follow-up "The Newsroom". I heard myself agreeing with her view and also bemoaning my similar impatience with some of David Mamet's work. BTW, the absurdity of a never-was blogger being impatient with the work of two creative giants does not escape me.

But when I stopped to further consider what's likely to move me in drama, Sam Shepherd's plays first came to mind - spare, lots of space. Music? Even when I'm awed by a talent like Joe Pass on guitar or Bird's hot alto, something about the leaner playing of Jim Hall or Miles' post-bebop cool trumpet captivates me more. Film? Epics like "Lawrence Of Arabia" or "Gladiator" are amazing; much smaller films like "Stone Boy" or "Rabbit Proof Fence" or "Winter's Bone" linger longer. In literature, supple metaphors and shimmering language dazzle (when reading Updike, Pat the minimalist retreats a bit), but simple sentences with one syllable words are likely to find their way into my book journal. Try finding a last sentence packing more punch than the one that ends "A Lesson Before Dying" by Ernest Gaines.

Other minimalists, please weigh in with some of your favorites. Everyone else - bring on your recommendations for the spectacles, the anthems, the big showy masterpieces - plenty of room for modifications in this minimalist's tent.  

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