More wine and cinema, Italian and Italian (and thoughts on ya’ll vs. y’all)

January 5, 2010

san dona del piave

Click here or on the image to view a short documentary (infomercial) about wines produced in the Veneto, made in 1969.

A lot of folks commented and/or retweeted my post from the day before yesterday, on Wine in Fellini’s La Dolce Vita. Thanks to all for the link love! :-)

This morning, I poked around in the Archivio Luce website (the Istituto Luce was founded by the fascists to create propaganda films, LUnione Cinematografica Educativa or The Educational Cinematic Union) and found this clip from 1969 about the “ichthyic wines,” i.e., the seafood wines of the Veneto.

The short film (essentially an infomercial for the Canella winery in San Donà del Piave) is interesting for a lot of reasons. Tocai, Verduzzo, Merlot, and Cabernet from the Veneto (Tocai and Verduzzo to pair with seafood, Merlot and Cabernet with roast meats and game), are top exports to the gourmets of the world, says the narrator. But the thing I find the most fascinating is the music and the chipper style and feel of the film — reminiscent, however distantly, of the feel of Fellini’s La Dolce Vita.

Watch the clip and let me know your impressions.

In other news…

Thanks to all the folks who retweeted yesterday’s post! :-)

lunar

I wanted to post another picture of Tracie B’s peepaw and meemaw (above) since Tracie B pointed out to me that peepaw wasn’t smiling in yesterday’s photo (it was the only one I could find with a glass of orange wine in it).

He just turned 90 and well, you don’t ask a lady her age, but the two of them are pretty amazing: peepaw may not be as spry as he once was but they both get out to all the family functions (meemaw drives) and they enjoy all the festivities, food, fixings, and the wines, too…

Honestly, there are not a lot of options for fine wine in Orange, Texas, and Texas retailers do not ship within the state. It is legal for out-of-state retailers to ship here but few have jumped through the hoops that allow them to do so. If Lunar made it to Orange, Texas, on the Lousiana border, it was ’cause Tracie B and me brought it! :-)

Thanks for reading!

In other other news…

In recent months, I’ve received a lot of comments (even some ugly ones) about my usage of the expression ya’ll. I addressed some of the linguistic issues and implications in this often heated debate in a comment thread the other day and would like to repost it here for all to consider. Thanks for reading!

“My thoughts on the (often heated) ya’ll vs. y’all debate.”

@TWG and IWG the ya’ll vs. y’all question has become contentious at times! There’s no doubt in my mind that the “more correct” inflection is “y’all” since nearly everyone agrees that the expression is a contraction of “you all”. I also believe it is the more correct inflection because it is the more common: orthography and the “correctness” of language are determined by usage and frequency. There are more occurrences of “y’all” than there are of “ya’ll” and so “y’all” wins as the “most correct.”

Having said that, a little research reveals that the earliest inflection is “yall”, written without the inverted comma denoting the elision (btw, an entire chapter of my doctoral thesis is devoted to the history of the inverted comma and its early usage to denote elision in the transcription of poetry in incunabula in 15th-century Venice tipography — no shit!). It appears in transcriptions of early 20th-century African-American (read “black”) parlance. So, technically, the most correct form is “yall”.

Having said that, “ya’ll” is an accepted form and I’m not sure why it evokes so much ire among observers. I, for one, will continue to use “ya’ll” because I like the way it mirrors the dialectal pronunciation of the vowel cluster, where the greater aperture of the “a” seems to take precedence in the enunciation of the contraction and elision.

Language is by its very nature a balance between idiolect (a language spoke by one person) and dialect (a regionally inflected and mutually comprehensible corruption of a standardized linguistic code).

In other words, “ya’ll” feels just right to me and I know that everyone understands it. So, as they say, if it ain’t broke? ;-)

Clearly, I’ve spent some time thinking about this.


Peepaw drinks some orange wine (in Orange, Texas)

January 4, 2010

lunar

Above: Tracie B’s peepaw (grandfather) turned 90 this month. He and meemaw still live in Orange, Texas where Tracie B grew up. He tasted Movia’s Lunar with us over the Christmas holiday — orange wine in Orange, Texas on the Lousiana border!

This morning, when I read McDuff’s fantastic post about drinking Lunar under a full moon on New Year’s eve and his excellent treatment of the importance of the cycle of the moon in the discourse of natural and biodynamic winemaking, I couldn’t help but remember that we opened a bottle of the same wine, the 2005 Lunar by Movia, with Tracie B’s family in Orange, Texas over the Christmas holiday.

lunar

Above: Tracie B and I shared our bottle of Lunar with the B family as Tracie B was preparing her dumplings for the chicken and dumplings we ate the night after Christmas day.

I highly recommend McDuff’s post to you. And while not everyone is as crazy about Movia’s Lunar as McDuff and I are, it’s worth tasting: whether you enjoy it or not, it pushes the envelope of natural winemaking in unusual and perhaps unexpected directions. I, for one, enjoy it immensely and prefer not to decant it (although winemaker Aleš Kristančič recommends decanting). Peepaw and meemaw both seemed to enjoy it…

In other news…

fellini

Above: Tracie B and I agreed that we would have been better off going to see the new Chipmunks movie instead of the lame excuse for a movie otherwise known as Nine.

I’m going to break my rule of never speaking about things I don’t like here and tell you that the new movie Nine (a musical about the life of Federico Fellini) is a travesty, a lame excuse for a movie, and is wholly offensive to the grand tradition of Italian cinema and one of its greatest maestri, indeed one of the greatest filmmakers and artists of the twentieth century, Federico Fellini.

Here are some of the more awful lines from the movie, sung by Kate Hudson (fyi, Guido Contini is the name of the Fellini character played by Daniel Day-Lewis).

    I love the black and white
    I love the play of light
    The way Contini puts his image through a prism
    I feel my body chill
    gives me a special thrill
    each time I see that Guido neo-realism

It makes me wanna HEAVE. The folks who wrote and made this movie should be ashamed of themselves and should be barred from the movie industry entirely: there is no book to speak of, the songs and lyrics were seemingly written as a high-school drama class project, and the premise (Contini’s inescapable and pseudo-Italianate womanizing as an aesthetic disease) is entirely offensive to the Italian nation and its grand historic artistic sensibility — whether figurative or literary.

There’s no doubt in my mind that I would have found more aesthetic reward and intellectual enjoyment if we had gone to see the new Alvin and the Chipmunks movie, which was screening in the theater next to ours.


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