the new york times has a new daily email they call “urbanite”. i like it quite a lot; yesterday, they had a blurb about a presentation of a movie by paul festa at st. bartholomew’s church called apparition of the eternal church that sounded fun. all i knew was that it was named after a strange and rarely-performed classical piece written by messiaen for the pipe organ, and it had justin bond of kiki and herb and john cameron mitchell of hedwig and shortbus. and also that the strange and rarely-performed classical piece would be performed on the church’s pipe organ (the largest in nyc) after the movie.
i love me some pipe organ. it’s the only reason i go to the radio city christmas show every year–to listen to the dual duelling pipe organists before the show.
good enough for me. i got tickets.
so i buy my tickets, and in the process i discover that st. bart’s is an episcopal church. who knew, and me episcopal and all. and we had time to kill before the 7:30 movie start time, and they had a 6:00 eucharist.
hence, eucharist and a movie. actually it was quick dinner at lou’s cafe, eucharist, and a movie.
this is what my life has come to. big night on the town for jamie. woo-hoo. it’s a blowout. church, followed by church.
the movie itself was fascinating. various people, famous and not famous (infamous?), put on headphones and listened to the piece. and described in words what they heard, and felt. you couldn’t hear the piece yourself, only the words of description.
and only at the end of the movie did you get to hear the piece itself. it was a brilliant setup–a perfect way to get at the meaning of a piece of music without being intrusive on the piece itself.
and the stories were funny, moving, stirring, wistful, frightening, hopeful–the gamut from a to z, or a to at least q or r.
i bought a great t-shirt with the movie info and a picture of miss kiki du rane on it, along with the dvd of the movie. it’s not likely to play in your town–it’s a small movie without any real distribution–but if you can get a copy it’s well worth the trouble and expense.
the performance afterwards? a bit disappointing, to be honest. the people in the movie, who were wearing headphones, kept talking about how loud it was, and how they could feel the notes in their spine, and all. and while the organ was powerful, i kept wanting the volume to be louder. i didn’t get blown away.
i love the piece, though. it’s all sustained notes and harmonics that build on each other in a fascinating and disturbing way.
i’ll definitely be getting a messiaen cd, and putting on the headphones.