Stop Making Sense

Stop Making Sense ★★★★★

This is some Jos 2.0 sh-t right here. Two-point-oh because I’m in my I-am-more-me era, finally, and in my mid-thirties. Newly achieved health which feels like a new body, a new career that feels right, and a new (old) acknowledgment of my aversion to conventional masculinity, whatever that may mean. 

And crucial to the more-me Jos is a heart bursting for the earnestness, the passion for dance and performance, and the exhilaration of creative expression that makes up Stop Making Sense

More than a musician, Byrne is a creative. More than a concert, this is a performance. More than a dance at a good-times live show, this is the staging of the joy of dance and movement. A profile shot watches the band at the edge of the stage shuffle forward and back, and we’re moved just by their patterned non-choreography. If Michael Mann shows us people at work, Demme and Byrne here show us the work of performers. They know how we gaze at performers and microscope their every move when we’re in the crowd of a live show. Know that we even love to witness the stage being set up by stage hands, and fitting that stage hands get a special acknowledgment by the band. The jogging around the stage and the running on the spot! My broken brain, my purring heart! Byrne’s insatiable energy mirrored in their band mates who run for them, mimic their toe-tapping, and who must stay in great shape for them because damn. Gratifying and relatable for us viewers are shots of the band just taking in what’s happening around them. 

A playground for grownups. Byrne’s white shoes and grey suit like Peewee Herman. Padded shoulders like skyscrapers. Silhouettes pirouetting. Byrne a plant shaking in the wind, a flame jittering against the black of night. So much magic, they give life to a standing lamp so it can be their dance partner. 

One of my LBBesties Angelee has said that people getting together to eat is a peak of existence, and I think that too of people playing music together and the audience who watches that music-making. Sharing food, sharing passion, it’s when meaning is made and life is lived. 

I ran into an old teacher afterwards who had been at the movie. My new career is teaching, and it’s as if I was both meant to arrive here and do so only after first zig-zagging my way through other experiences. The mathematical plotting that placed me and my former teacher at this screening was another affirmation that I’m where I’m supposed to be. Two-point-oh baby!

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