From The Desk Of The Kellys: “Afternoon Of A Faun”

Whenever Jeff Kelly takes a break from piloting Seattle’s Green Pajamas on their world tour of uncharted psych/pop waters, he likes to collaborate vocally with a woman. Until now that person has been GPJ alternate lead singer Laura Weller in a partnership called Goblin Market. Kelly didn’t have to venture far from the home fires for his most recent female vocal foil. With his wife Susanne as an equal partner, the pair has come up with By Reckless Moonlight (Green Monkey), a little gem that visits places no Jeff Kelly LP has been before. Susanne may insist she’s not really a singer, but her voice knows just the right moves to counterbalance Jeff’s ethereal sound from a previous lifetime. The Kellys will be guest editing magnetmagazine.com all week. Read our recent feature on them.

Afternoon

Jeff: A few weeks ago, I was suffering a horrible cold and didn’t feel like doing anything but lying on the couch and looking at Netflix. Watched some just-OK and some pretty-good stuff. Then I came across, Afternoon Of A Faun, which, luckily, I had saved to my “watch list.” My gosh, what a film. I’ve been interested in ballet for a while, but, admittedly, I had never heard of the dancer, Tanaquil LeClercq. But I sure fucking know about her now: I sat, transfixed, watching this film of her life unfold from a spirited childhood to very deserved fame and then to a sudden, almost unbelievable turn of luck—very bad luck.

George Balanchine became aware of her when she was 15, and she went on to become one of his very favorite muses—in fact, he eventually came to love her very much—and he choreographed multiple ballets for her to dance. Luckily there are some beautiful, often eerie, examples filmed from that time and presented in this film. Her friends talk about her (and their lives with her and Balanchine): often emotionally and never boringly. But, ultimately, it’s the clips of Tananquil that keep you watching.

My own small complaint with this film is that it goes on a little bit too long after her life-altering medical diagnosis is presented. But that is a small complaint, and I would recommend this film to anyone who loves art and, really, just being human and alive. Most of us are very lucky, and we’re lucky, aren’t we, that we have compassion for others.

Video after the jump.