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The Blue Velvet Project

Blue Velvet, 47 seconds at a time by Nicholas Rombes

The Blue Velvet Project, #21

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Second #987, 16:27

1. Double Ed to Jeffrey: “If you want to spray for bugs Jeffrey, it causes us no pain.”

2. “The black tradition is double-voiced.” (Henry Louis Gates, Jr., from The Signifying Monkey: A Theory of African-American Literary Criticism)

3. Valvoline.

4. Comet.

5. A “Danger” sign.

6. The backroom of a hardware store might be said to be a particularly American place, one whose codes are so obvious they are practically inscrutable.

7. The image at second #987 exists on the level of folklore.

8. One of the Eds is blind; the other sees for him.

9. “He drove into town and bought bread and milk and candles. At the hardware a butane camp stove. The supermarkets were full of people pushing overflowing baskets toward the checkout lines as if the countryside lay under siege.” (William Gay, from the story “The Lightpainter”)

10. The two Eds startle us as a weird echo of Grant Woods’s painting American Gothic.

11. “But there remain important differences between verbal and cinematic story-space. Recall the frame. Images evoked in my mind by verbal descriptive passages are not contained by frames, but no matter how engrossed in a movie I become, I never lose the sense that what I see is bounded by the screen’s edges.” (Seymour Chatman, from Story and Discourse: Narrative Structure in Fiction and Film)

12. “ . . . it causes us no pain.” It could be a line from a song dropped into circulation by some mysterious band with no name, or a bland phrase hiding a secret meaning, as when spies meet to exchange information (“I hear the weather in Paris is lovely this time of year”) or a password, or the answer to a riddle, or, most likely, lines spoken to Jeffrey in the early blossoming of his dark-turning dream.

Over the period of one full year — three days per week — The Blue Velvet Project will seize a frame every 47 seconds of David Lynch’s classic to explore. These posts will run until second 7,200 in August 2012. For a complete archive of the project, click here. And here is the introduction to the project.

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