Kent State University (Jacob)



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    Spendin' All My Money and Time - 'True Stories' thoughts + preblog

    By jacob
    Feb 12, '09 10:53 PM EST

    Today I watched True Stories.

    It’s a 1986 film directed/produced/written/starring David Byrne of Talking Heads fame.

    I’m a Talking Heads fan, which is why I wanted to watch it.

    However, it’s pretty interesting from an architecture/urban standpoint.
    Byrne is an artist himself, and much of the Talking Heads music speculates about urbanity/architecture/society etc. (guitarist Jerry Harrison is a GSD dropout, and Byrne, Chris Frantz and Tina Weymouth met at RISD…) Architecturally, Byrne recently did “this” to a building, which as an architecturestudent/musician, I think is pretty nifty.

    So the movie:

    Self described in architectural terms as "a completely cool multipurpose movie."

    It focuses on a town in Texas on the verge of celebrating their sesquicentennial with a “festival of special-ness;" an irony noting the inauthenticity of the presented city (also interesting after our sprawl-studio last semester and questioning the american suburb). The first part of it has some nice speculation by Byrne-as-narrator regarding the oddities of 80’s Texas – sprawling, shopping malls, development houses, flat land, the corporation-run-“factory”-town, and some pretty cool shots of all of this. . It's odd for me as somebody who only tasted the 80's to look back and not really know what's authentic and what's intentionally oversaturated.

    ....oh yea...and John Goodman's in it.

    I’ve never encountered any other designers/urbanists who’ve noted this film (although I've never asked...until now), so I’m curious to see if anybody out there has seen it and has thoughts on it.

    And since everybody probably has netflix, (or the free netflix called the library), check it out and let me know what you think.

    Real post tomorrow:
    1. The photojournalists present…..
    2. Studio/facilities pictures!
    3. The progress of the project on the port in the grey city.


    • deepOASIS

      Jake this is Tim Dickerson. I met you over the break at Abe and Ted's. Thanks for the heads up on this movie. I actually had that in my hand the other day at the public library here in Spokane. I didn't pick it up due to the fact they would only let me take one item out since I have no real residence, and I really wanted to read some Salinger. I will pick it up the next time I am in. Thanks.

      Feb 12, 09 11:08 pm  · 

      we watched the show for our urbanism class in grad school. am still not sure why...but the prof seemed to think there was something to learn. i guess so, in an osmotic movie though, just in general...

      Feb 13, 09 8:12 am  · 

      i always wonder if byrne's intention was irony or whether WE read irony because we want it to be so. i think he may have been more sincere through a lot of the movie than we might expect. it's sort of an ode to a completely 'normal' way of life - a theme byrne has often celebrated.

      in a theory presentation in 1989(?) i screened this side-by-side with 'la dolce vita'. the subject was voyeurism. some interesting moments when you watch them simultaneously - but really sort of gimmicky because i think there would be interesting frisson in almost ANY two movies screened side-by-side.

      the most in-your-face architectural moment is byrne's commentary on 'architecture' - a recognition that a metal prefabricated building can be whatever you want it to be. and that it can change into something else. paraphrase: 'you just have to change the sign.'

      but the portrayal of the coming together of a town in the making of an EVENT to present a specious 'specialness' is where there is maybe some more potential for analysis of community and motivation.

      i do think that 'true stories' is an exaggeration, obviously, but still/also a slice of life with a lot of truth in it. i loved it.

      Feb 13, 09 9:37 am  · 

      nothing is authentic. everything is authentic.

      Mar 25, 09 8:07 pm  · 

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