VU Perdition

Speaking of the Velvets, I bought tonight the just-released deluxe reissue of their first album, The Velvet Underground and Nico. The new disc contains both mono and stereo mixes of the first disc, along with tracks from Nico’s CD Chelsea Girl. Although billed as a solo album, Cale, Reed, and Morrison do backing vocals. Extensive liner notes and a reproduction of Andy Warhol’s peelable banana cover make this a nice fetish item for the Dietsch to own.

Also on tonight’s shopping list, a copy of the graphic novel Road to Perdition. You might have noticed, if you pay attention to television and movies, that Road to Perdition has been adapted into a film, directed by Sam “American Beauty” Mendes and starring Tom Hanks.

Now, I’m looking forward to the movie, but not for Messrs. Mendes and Hanks. (As an aside, however, I’ve bitched for years that it’s time for Hanks to jettison his nice guy role and play someone who’s actually kind of a bastard. Perhaps he’s now done that.) No, what really has me going is the cinematography by Conrad L. Hall and, especially, the production design of Dennis Gassner. You might think, oh, who sees movies for the production design? Road to Perdition, my friend, is a period piece, set in 1920’s Chicago. Check Gassner’s credits: The Man Who Wasn’t There; O Brother, Where Art Thou?; The Hudsucker Proxy; Barton Fink; Bugsy; Miller’s Crossing; The Grifters. Gassner knows period pieces. I’ve seen the trailer, and this film is just beautiful.

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