Spectrum Check

The mad rush to the end of the year continues at Spectrum Culture. Everyone’s been doing their best to pull together various “best of” features while still making sure we still continue to crank out the regular new material. It’s fun (especially for a dork like me who enjoys wedging his media interests into list form, which the tags over there on the right certainly indicate), but a little exhausting, too.

And it’s made even more busy when a feature we’ve been working on for ages comes to fruition at the exact same time. It took over a year for use to pull together the latest Playlist feature, this time on the Kinks. I wrote on five of the songs we collectively selected, which led to, among other thing, me watching the first part of the totally wacko nineteen-seventies TV special that eventually morphed into the pretty crummy album Soap Opera. I also made a point of checking with an old college pal who I always defer to all matters Kinks, and he confirmed the selections we made were acceptable, with the exception of Give the People What They Want. He says we should have opted for “Art Lover,” so adjust your scorecards accordingly.

There were still new movies to review, and my piece of the film section was devoted to a new documentary about flare-out basketball prospect Lenny Cooke. It’s been getting high praise in certain quarters, but it’s a mediocre effort. It doesn’t help that it bears the burden of drawing natural comparisons to Hoop Dreams, still one of the most exceptional documentaries ever made.

Finally, I went long on the latest entry in our Oeuvre feature. We’re currently tracking through the films of Vincente Minnelli, and I drew the outing that won him his Best Director Oscar: Gigi. Certainly the ability to play around with some Academy Awards trivia in the last paragraph helped add plenty of words, but the truth is that the Oeuvre pieces have long been my favorites to write for the site. I like to go all out, especially when we’re covering a filmmaker who has a rich history to dig into. Minnelli certainly qualifies for that.

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