AIM­ING FOR ROSES

Geist - - Endnotes -

First there was the Cana­dian dare­devil Ken Carter who, for five years (start­ing in 1976), made re­peated at­tempts to jump the St. Lawrence River in a rocket-pro­pelled car. He planned to land on the US side, in two hun­dred square feet of roses (planted spe­cially for the oc­ca­sion), which he spec­u­lated would be “a fairly soft tar­get.” In 1981 Robert Fortier made an NFB doc­u­men­tary about Carter; this in­spired Mark Haney, a Vancouver com­poser and dou­ble bassist, to spend the next five years com­pos­ing mu­sic that for some rea­son he based on the first 499 dig­its of pi, and record­ing it on a con­cept al­bum for dou­ble bass, gui­tar and vo­cals, along with au­dio clips from the doc­u­men­tary, and to call it Aim for the Roses. Haney’s al­bum, de­scribed by one mu­sic critic as “ut­terly amaz­ing and com­pletely fuck­ing ridicu­lous,” fu­elled the imag­i­na­tion of the Vancouver film­maker John Bolton, who started with the mu­sic, used some scenes from the orig­i­nal doc­u­men­tary, built a short­ened ver­sion of Carter’s ramp that stands in for a Shake­spearean stage and hired some ac­tors and singers, all so that he could add his own crazy movie to this chain of ob­ses­sions. Much like the works that in­spired it,

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