Monday, August 23, 2010

Craft beer's creativity: "To sustain and destabilize?"

I always read the book review section in the Sunday New York Times, and spotted this one yesterday:

Book Review - Warning Shadows - Home Alone With Classic Cinema, by Gary Giddins, reviewed by Dave Kehr.

In this consideration of a collection of columns by jazz and film writer Gary Giddins, reviewer Kehr offers an insight that looms large in considerations of craft beer in America, circa 2010.

A sensitive critic of jazz needs both a familiarity with basic forms and genres and a special responsiveness to the often minute changes worked on that primary material by the individual artist. Similar skills are needed to decode the genre-based films of high Hollywood …

Kehr focuses on Westerns in this context of genre-based film and contrasts the approach of directors John Ford and Anthony Mann before arriving at the point that strikes me:

“The 1950s were arguably the greatest years of the western,” Giddins writes in his Mann essay, “the period in which generic formulas were at once sustained and destabilized through psychology, revisionism, high style and the kind of grandeur that follows when the most durable clich├ęs are reframed against classical paradigms.”

To sustain and destabilize — that’s as good a definition of the Hollywood filmmaker’s function as it is of the jazz musician’s …

And, I’d add, of today’s craft brewers, who pick apart conventional viewpoints even as they perpetuate the art and science of brewing.

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