Monday, October 18 2004
Bay area punks hold a mock funeral for the recently expired US President, Ronald Reagan. Recalling Reagan's legacy -- El Salvadoran death squads, homelessness, union-busting, and silence in the face of the devastating AIDS epidemic -- Nguyen revists the place of her Reagan-inspired punk youth to see what has changed, and what remains the same.
In the wee hours of the morning, in a plaza set in humble Perugia, a lovely little slice of Italy, a drunken 20-something party boy kicks at the empty beer bottles at his feet and curses into his mobile in crude, raw dialect. Modern man, as embodied in this raging fashion case, hardly compares to the historial and architectural grandeur that surrounds him.
The Goulburn Valley's trees are dying because of the drought: the worst since 1927. Kyabrum is not a fun place to be right now, but it never really was, even when the farmers were thriving. One rare, rainy night, a feeling of hope creeps in from the shadows; but the illusion quickly flees like the ghost that it is.
There are things about going out to the movies that home video will never capture: the hugeness of even the dinkiest movie screens; sharing space with strangers in even the near-emptiest of theaters (although New York theaters are rarely actually empty); and the immediacy of seeing a movie during its (ever-briefer) big screen life. It's all worth it, even if it takes 45 minutes to get to a movie theater from the quiet borough of Greenpoint, Brooklyn.
There is the environment that we find ourselves in, and that which we create. After two millennia or so of having to be nice to your neighbors because they were the only people you saw on a regular basis, we've reached a point where a neighborhood, a community, doesn't necessarily have to be simply where you are. Instead, it can be what you make it, and with whom you wish to include.