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Meetings at the crossroads

Remem­ber when Robert John­son met the dev­il at the cross­roads and returned with a whole new kind of blues? Last night, we watched "Noto­ri­ous," the Big­gie Smalls biopic, and there's a sim­i­lar moment. The movie sort of gloss­es over where Biggie's style came from, imply­ing that it began on the street, but that Big­gie real­ly enhanced it dur­ing nine months in a North Car­oli­na prison. It remind­ed me of Mar­tin Scorsese's Bob Dylan doc­u­men­tary, No Direc­tion Home. Where did the Dylan sound come from? Scors­ese dili­gent­ly goes through all of the mem­bers of the 60's Vil­lage scene, but then there's a gap in which Dylan leaves the scene for a few months and then re-emerges with the style we all know. What is it about cre­at­ing a new style that it has to hap­pen in secret? "Noto­ri­ous" is ter­ri­ble, by the way. I wouldn't have thought it pos­si­ble to make a wood­en, utter­ly unin­ter­est­ing movie about Big­gie, Brook­lyn, the ear­ly 90's, and East Coast v West Coast, but they found a way to do it.