Weblog van redacteur J. Kleyngeld

Fragmenten uit het Schemerland is het resultaat van 10 jaar bloggen over met name economie, filosofie en populaire cultuur. Er verschijnen nog regelmatig blogs. Daarnaast houd ik me bezig met de volgende thema’s en platformen:
>> Bedrijfseconomie via o.a. MenA.nl, CFO.nl en AccountantWeek.nl;
>> Filosofie/wetenschap via Mentaal-Universum.nl;
>> Voor film kun je terecht op de FilmDungeon-pagina.

In het archief van deze weblog vind je een grote verzameling blogs, essays en verhalen. Neem vooral wat fragmenten tot je voordat je weer verder trekt de wijde cyberwereld in.

— Jeppe Kleyngeld

TV Dungeon: Deadwood

(2004 – 2006, USA)

Creator: David Milch
Cast: Timothy Olyphant, Ian McShane, Molly Parker, Brad Dourif, W. Earl Brown, John Hawkes, Paula Malcomson, Powers Boothe

3 Seasons (36 Episodes)

’Some Fortunes Are Better Left Unclaimed’

Sheriff Seth Bullock, pimp and saloon owner Al Swearengen, prostitute Trixie, and alcoholic Calamite Jane. Just a handful of the colorful characters that inhabit the raw and lawless frontier town of Deadwood. In the midst of Indian land, the late 18th century laws don’t apply. The power lies with Al Swearengen and his cronies. Through deceit, intimidation and murder he controls the town. Al Swearengen is Deadwood. But new opportunists arrive that all want their share of the wealth that the trade and the earth in Deadwood generates.

This is certainly one of the most ambitious productions ever by HBO. Not only ambitious in scale but in storytelling as well. These characters are not your average gunslingers. Creator David Milch wanted to show the west as it really was; dirty and corrupted. Filled with people scheming, swearing and double-crossing their way through life. There were no gunfights every ten minutes. Entrepreneurs operated sneakily to be able to fully profit from the rising economy. Although the show reminds of Robert Altman’s McCabe and Mrs. Miller, it is something we haven’t quite seen before.

Deadwood breaks with the typical western tradition. Vicious killers dominate the setting and famous western figures such as Wild Bill Hickok and Wyatt Earp are not the legendary characters they are generally made out to be. They are as human as the rest. Plagued by faults, addictions, self-pity and regrets. Despite their raw nature, the characters talk in very complex Shakespearian dialogues (filled with lots of cuss words) which makes it hard to understand their motivations at times. Figuring out the function of some characters in the main storylines is equally challenging. This, and the fact that there are quite a lot of uneventful episodes, could be off-putting for some viewers.

But those willing to invest their time will be rewarded with beautiful art-direction, cinematography and lighting. Not to mention a few shocking surprises and some monumental performances. The most intriguing (and humorous) character by far is Al Swaerengen, wonderfully portrayed by Ian McShane. He can cut a throat without blinking an eye, but is also able to show mercy and understanding to those in a weaker position. Because of his witty lines, amicable moments, and because of the constantly disgusting behavior of Swearengen’s rival Cy Tolliver, one can easily forget that this is an evil man. The frequent reminders of his ambiguity are among the most powerful moments of the show, as well as other character revelations that often occur in the form of extremely violent outbursts or other displays of ugliness.

Besides McShane, the other casting decisions have turned out very well. Timothy Olyphant is in his element as the frustrated lawman Seth Bullock, and Powers Boothe is utterly hideous as the gambling house owner Cy Tolliver. Then there is Molly Parker as the opium addicted Alma Garret, a widow due to Swearengen’s lust for gold. Her character as well as Calamite Jane’s show the independent spirit of the female, since most other women in the town are ruled by men like Swearengen and Tolliver.

The rise of a civilization is shown in many forms. Business opportunities are exploited and political alliances are formed. In the course of the series Deadwood sees the establishment of a hardware store, a school, a theatre and a bank. Also represented is healthcare (Doc Cochran) and the media (the Deadwood Pioneer). The primary human needs in Deadwood seem to be booze and prostitution though. Swearengen and Tolliver are more than willing to provide the people in that department. The church is only present in the form of one reverend who suffers from a brain tumor. Ironically he gets mercy-killed by Swearengen at the end of the first season.

Deadwood is based on real historic persons and events. Although I doubt that they exactly spoke like these characters, the series feels like an authentic vision of the west. Unfortunately it was cancelled after three seasons. 10 years later it was concluded in a TV-movie.

To those who have seen it already, re-watching the show is recommended. Where the first viewing requires concentration, the second time around more subtle things will come to the surface. You got that, you cocksucker!

Sijthoff Media neemt Alex van Groningen over

Sijthoff Media heeft opleidingsinstituut, community-bouwer en uitgeverij Alex van Groningen overgenomen.

Sijthoff Media, dat deze week 10 jaar bestaat, is een crossmediaal bedrijf van nieuws- en vakmedia en onder meer bekend van de titels Adformatie, Binnenlands Bestuur, AG Connect en Kidsweek. Alex van Groningen heeft onder andere de merken AIF, FM.nl, CFO, CHRO, M&A, AccountantWeek, Finance.nl en Financehub.nl in het portfolio.

Door de krachten te bundelen met Alex van Groningen verstevigt Sijthoff Media zijn positie in het Nederlandse B2B-medialandschap. Dankzij de overname bereikt het bedrijf nu meer dan één miljoen eindbeslissers en professionals door middel van opleidingen, evenementen, congressen, awards, executive diners, magazines en nieuws- en vacaturesites.

Directeur Melle Eijckelhoff: “We zijn ontzettend blij met de strategische mogelijkheden die Sijthoff Media ons biedt. De afgelopen 25 jaar hebben wij met onze partners meerdere vooraanstaande communities gebouwd waarin meer dan 100.000 professionals samenkomen. Dit is een mooie kans om krachten te bundelen, kennis en expertise te delen en onze communities verder te laten groeien.”

Willem Sijthoff, CEO van Sijthoff Media: “Deze week bestaat Sijthoff Media precies 10 jaar. Deze overname is dan ook een zeer belangrijke milestone voor ons bedrijf. Met de titels Adformatie, AG Connect, Binnenlands Bestuur en iBestuur waren wij al marktleider binnen de clusters marketing, media, creatie & communicatie, IT en overheid en dankzij de titels van Alex van Groningen bereiken we nu ook de finance, HR, M&A en accountants communities in Nederland. Gezamenlijk hebben we nu een uniek bereik onder meer dan één miljoen eindbeslissers en professionals in Nederland, inclusief de gehele C-suite in het bedrijfsleven en alle bestuurders en topambtenaren in de overheid.”

Sijthoff Media komt door de overname op ruim 120 medewerkers. De activiteiten van Alex van Groningen zullen worden doorgezet volgens plan. Melle Eijckelhoff blijft verantwoordelijk als directeur bij Alex van Groningen.

Dungeon Classics #7: Last Man Standing

FilmDungeon’s Chief Editor JK sorts through the Dungeon’s DVD-collection to look for old cult favorites….

Last Man Standing (1996, USA)

Director: Walter Hill
Cast: Bruce Willis, Christopher Walken, David Patrick Kelly, Ned Eisenberg
Running Time: 101 mins.

The story of Last Man Standing – in which a mercenary arrives in a small town and hires himself to two rival gangs – has been told before. The original Yojimbo (1961) is a samurai movie. And the remake A Fistful of Dollars (1964) a spaghetti western. Both are absolute classics. Last Man Standing is not, but hey! This is still a cult favorite. In this version, the setting is a dusty Mexican bordertown during the prohibition where two gangs of violent bootleggers are fighting a bloody war. The rough gunslinging drifter Willis (named John Smith) arrives and starts playing both sides off against one another, earning himself a nice payday for his efforts. But the play is not without personal danger. Plus, he starts helping two dames who are hooked up with the gangs’ leaders. Pretty soon, the town turns into a bullet festival, so Smith can display his incredible gun skills. The heavy action that follows is perfectly directed by Hill. Add to this a fine selection of actors, including a creepy Christopher Walken, and you have an irresistible action movie on your hands.