From The Desk Of The Green Pajamas: “Claire’s Knee”

Like its Southern California influences in the Paisley Underground (Rain Parade, Three O’Clock), named as an homage to the psychedelic heyday of Jefferson Airplane and Strawberry Alarm Clock, the Green Pajamas must hold the world’s record for most albums (somewhere around 30) recorded by a band with the fewest number of live appearances (somewhere more than 30) over a career that has spanned almost 30 years. Jeff Kelly and Co. recently released longplayer Death By Misadventure via longtime Pajamas label Green Monkey. Kelly and bandmates Laura Weller and Eric Lichter will be guest editing magnet all week. Read our recent feature on them.

Kelly: My beloved father in law, the painter Michael Dailey, once coined a phrase—now famous within our family—regarding all French films: “Nothing happens and nobody screws.” This generalization could be said about the work of French director Eric Rohmer.  ounds boring, right? Nope.

I was a TV kid, brought up with shows like Star Trek, The Time Tunnel and Combat. As a boy I certainly did not appreciate anything as snail-paced as a book, for instance. Luckily, one grows up and things change. One thing I distinctly remember when I was quite young and on the tip of that inevitable ascent into adolescence was a small black-and-white ad in the Seattle Post Intelligencer for a movie called Claire’s Knee. I looked a lot at that ad when I was around 12 years old and wondered what the movie would be like. It was rated R-16, so I still had a long way to go. Adolescence was full of mystery, and I was very intrigued with the image in the ad: a cropped photo of a girl’s short skirt and long legs climbing a ladder while a man below, in a hat, gazed up at her. Well, one September, about 30 years later, my sister gave her now very grown-up brother the DVD box-set: Six Moral Tales by Eric Rohmer for his birthday. I finally got to watch Claire’s Knee! I don’t remember ever having so much fun watching nobody screw and nothing happen. There is an indefinable magic to Rohmer’s films that I believe a lot of his fans might not quite be able to articulate. Suffice to say, if you live for comic-book movies and American TV, you won’t like these films, I’m pretty sure of it. But if you are in the mood for a very leisurely, thoughtful and beautiful vacation to some long lost summer in 1970s France, filled with intriguing characters and gorgeous cinematography, check out Claire’s Knee or La Collectionneuse from Six Moral Tales or the stunning Pauline At The Beach. Subtle but beautiful stuff and better than a vacation to the coast. Just don’t be in a big hurry for something crazy to happen.