My parents, who have now been happily married for 27 years, have grown up and lived in the same Los Angeles suburb for their entire lives with no intentions of ever changing this. As someone that loves traveling and living in different environments, this astounds me. But their contentedness may also be why their marriage is a lot more happy and successful than the one in Revolutionary Road, which is now on wide release in movie theaters.
More of an experience to be had than a plotted story to follow, this movie chronicles the lives of two people aiming to move to Paris and live the high life some day, not permanently succumb to the cookie-cutterisms of 1950s suburbia. Instead of being in love with each other, they are in love with a narcissistic fantasy together. But the responsibilities of raising a family erode this dream and the absence of any authentic relationship beneath it is awkward and painful. The dramatic irony is that while the spouses bicker, the audience can see all the great things their selfishness keeps them from fully enjoying: sunny days, children, friends and sex with each other. I don’t know if vicariously experiencing all their perfectly performed pain is entertainment, but it certainly reminds you to base more of your happiness on what you have, not what you don’t.
The first edition of this legendary book was written in 1972 complete with pictures of a hairy and liberated British couple doing what they did best—highly addictive, excellent sex. But Susan Quilliam and others can easily note that things have changed since that time, when she was sampling with the original book herself. Sexually transmitted diseases, the pros and cons of several birth control forms and internet pornography were not discussed in the book. Moreover, the book was written from a man’s perspective and now that Quilliam has revised it, the book has the balance it has always needed for couples.
For better or worse, excerpts about having sex on a moving motorcycle have been replaced with excerpts on the development of virtual sex. For our own lives’ sake, it’s probably for the best. And so are the pictures of a hotter, fitter 21st century couple.
Indie crooner and musical jack-of-all trades Andrew Bird has been good at this thing called music-making for a while now. But his most recent album release, Noble Beast, invites a new crowd of fans to his base with a few more catchy and energetic songs like "Fitz and Dizzyspells." This song—which features his vocal, violin, whistling and guitar playing skills—is a cheery, pop song exhorting listeners to soldier on. In other songs, Bird adds glockenspiel to that list of instruments, he is somehow able to play, all in the same song.
Bird’s fun folk rock, recorded in Nashville, Chicago and Minneapolis, continues in songs like "Oh No" and "Not a Robot But a Ghost." But several other songs are classic Bird broodings in intricate lyrical form as is the case with the aptly named "Tenuousness." Believe me: Investigating the kind of music this quirky classic violinist, swing-dance musician, jazz and ballad writer leads to satisfying discoveries.