Noilly Prattle: January 2016

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Rama, Sita and Plum

     This Ikebana arrangement utilizes very early Plum branches and a wood sculpture of the Hindu deities Rama and Sita created in Ubud, Bali, Indonesia. 

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Going to the Feelies

all dressed up and ready to go
     I hadn't been to a cinema theater in some years, so I was surprised recently to find that I had a choice of theaters, 2D and 3D screens and type of seat selections all within the same cinema complex for the latest Episode of Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Naturally the ticket price varies according to your selection. The most expensive ticket included a private lounge with its own drink and food concessions—something like the VIP lounge in airports.

view from the moving seats
        We chose a less expensive theater with a 3D screen and seats that sway and shake you up coordinated with the action on the screen. Readers of Science Fiction, especially older ones, will no doubt be familiar the Aldous Huxley's 1932 sci-fi cum distopic novel Brave New World. In contrast to another dystopic novel of the same period 1984 by George Orwell, which controls by fear, Huxley's work controls through total gratification of desire. Given the choice most people would prefer Brave New World to 1984. In place of threats and surveillance, promiscuity and pleasure. One of the pleasures available to the inhabitants of the brave new world was a cinematic experience called “The Feelies”. The feely palace was so wired that all of the physical senses were employed in the enjoyment of the film.

red seats sway and jostle you


        After seeing Star Wars: The Force Awakens in 3D and being swayed and jostled by the seat it occurred to me that the real world was catching up to the sci-fi predictions in Huxley's novel. Adding the sense of scent and a little fine tuning in the tactile and you could participate in a passionate on screen kiss and more.

        Well, it was kind of fun having planets blow up in your face and fighters whizzing by just outside of touching range and disappearing behind your ear. After being jostled around in your seat in time to the cannon blasts and crashes a brief respite of tranquility was very welcome. The volume of of the ultra Dolby system left my ears ringing for a few hours (if not days) and I could feel the tension in my neck and shoulder muscles from being tossed around in my seat for over two hours.

         As for the story and plot line it was pretty standard for the Star Wars episodes. If you've seen one you've seen 'em all kind of thing. Dragging Harrison Ford and Carrie Fisher out of retirement was a mixed success at best. Older Han Solo tried to be the sarcastic/cute young Solo, but it doesn't really work in a 70-something guy. Carrie Fisher seems mostly weary and depressed. You are left wondering whatever happened to Princess Leia, that spunky wisecracking young ingenue. All in all Hollywood hasn't really been able to overcome the nostalgia and affection people have for the original three Star Wars (IV, V, VI) episodes. Except for the evolution of the wonders of technology it makes you question the wisdom of making sequels—great for box office, so so great for creativity and quality.

        After being thrown around in our seats for over two hours we were rather hungry and had dinner at a Vietnamese restaurant in the same mall as the cinema complex. It was a rather warmish evening and pleasant for a walk to the parking lot to pick up the car. All in all, a nice change of pace and evening out.