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Lileks @ Lunch

James Lileks writes about everything - except sports and gardening

"Fargo" showed Fargo - and got it wrong

Two things I'm tired of hearing:

1. Fargo is the best show on TV. Really? Have you seen every other TV show currently running? Does this include Netflix series that were released this fall? Amazon streaming? Because I'm here to tell you that if you watched every other show, you'd have to agree that there's a lot of quality TV today. And also "Fargo" is the best show on TV.

2. They keep getting Fargo wrong. I know, it's a small point. But last night's ep had some actual Fargo. Here's the shot of the Police Station:

Well, well. There are four buildings in the background. Three of them are Fargo buildings. They don't fit together like that. Take the buildings on the left:

The tall structure is the Radisson; the short building, shorn of its recently added crown, is the Gate City Savings. In real life, they look like this.

Then there's this:

It's the old First National Bank, seen from Main Avenue looking north. From that perspective the other buildings would be on the right, not the left.

They just made up the tall tower in the background. But it's better than passing off some Canadian town as Fargo; that's a start.

As for the Pearl Hotel, it's in Calgary:

As for the daughter who was taken from the motel and driven into the woods, she's not dead. She crawled under a Dumpster.

How many great orchestras do we have?

We'll get to that in a moment. First, a look at an underappreciated art: the furniture of video games.

As graphics improve to the point where they can accurately represent real world objects, game designers have increasingly used interior design to create a mood. From The Sims to Sunset, from ugly cots to metal thrones, furniture, and interior design have provided a real-world context for the virtual worlds they populate.

The article discusses the Sims, which had ugly furniture. Unless you bought the IKEA pack. Nothing about the interiors of Bioshock Infinite, which were quite remarkable.

And what of Doom? So many office chairs! At least two styles!

MOVIES I was going to discuss the impact of the Hunger Games movies, but then I realized I would be quoting a story that said  

"The far-reaching relevance of Katniss’ fight for freedom is so current that the Harry Potter Alliance has successfully launched the #MyHungerGames campaign two years running"

I think you can divide the entire world along the lines of People who Are Aware of the Harry Potter Alliance, and people who aren't, and I know where I stand. So let's move along.

ART I had the honor of performing with the Bloomington Symphony Orchestra yesterday afternoon, narrating "Journey into Jazz." Great fun - and what an orchestra! They tore up the Rossini and Beethoven with the brio you'd expect from big professional organizations, and reminded you that the idea the 'burbs are empty bland expanses devoid of culture is nonsense. "Journey" was written by Gunther Schuller, and here's what Wikipedia says about his early days:

Schuller was born in New York City, the son of German parents Elsie (Bernartz) and Arthur E. Schuller, a violinist with the New York Philharmonic. He studied at the Saint Thomas Choir School and became an accomplished French horn player and flute player. At age 15 he was already playing horn professionally with the American Ballet Theatre (1943) followed by an appointment as principal hornist with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra (1943–45), and then the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra in New York, where he stayed until 1959.

Hmm. Anything missing there? Let's go to the notes for yesterday's concert, penned by BSO music director & conductor Manny Laureano.

He was born a New Yorker as the result of his father’s employment as a violinist with the heralded New York Philharmonic. One would think a job like that would be enough to tie the Schullers to America forever but when Gunther was quite young they naively sent him to a boarding school in his ancestral home of Germany… in 1932. Predictably, things did not go well. Between a rather unfortunate accident involving a knife which cost him an eye and the mandatory enrollment in the Hitlerjungend he was unhappy enough to plead to come home to New York City leaving a good deal of ugliness in his life behind him.


VotD Sudden-acceleration syndrome, Russia-style:

Liveleak posts the Google Translate version of the news story: "Drunk motorist from Novosibirsk imprinted own long journey, ending a serious traffic accident on the street soldiers. The TV channel '360' published record of the incident, which occurred the day on 22 November. In the shooting, made road recorder, you can see how the car starts moving uncertainly, and then stopping on the roadside. Gradually he picked up speed, causing dodge oncoming pedestrians. Then parked the car touched a foreign car, which apparently does not bother the man at the wheel."

Settles that.