Sunday, March 28, 2004

sitting on a bench in anjou

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Thankfully got to Northsix right in time for who I came to see: The Fiery Furnaces, skipping out on a Duke game watching gathering. Gasp! Face of horror!

I'd seen them open twice, for Sleater-Kinney and British Sea Power, and was kind of taken with them from the start. I ended up buying their album Gallowsbird's Bark and ever since, have been a firm fan. I was delighted to see them pop up on some of those unavoidable 'best-of' lists a couple months ago and hopefully their fan-dom is growing. They're not a hype or fad band, and with a sort of 'no shit' aura. Unique sound. Alls I can come up with to describe is bluesy rockish carnival music.

They played a great show. Rock Nonstop... one song leading into another. The new songs are filling my anticipation bucket for their upcoming album, Blueberry Boat and everything sounded different from their album version which was cool. Actually, I wish I could get a recording of that show cuz the live versions were so interestingly different. That's hard to do!! praise praise praise. They took everything super fast though, and while the frenetic pace added a really great energy and drive to the show, I wished they had some more mellow moments, which did happen a few times when it was just Matt and Eleanor on stage.

They're going to be in the UK for awhile but check them out when they come back to the States because I said so. Man I'm really unentertainingly uncreative tonight. I blame it on my unfulfilled chocolate craving. Forget sublimation.

Setlist and review of Northsix show

live show review from the Guardian.

interview from FREEWilliamsburg from a month back. I add them to Ted Leo onto my running imaginary want-to-be-friends artist list though I think it'd be much more difficult with them.

Thursday, March 25, 2004

life is but a dream

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I should write about things I haven't so thoroughly enjoyed but I end up only including the things I really like on here. So lest, yes "lest" you think that I enjoy everything I see, hear, I say in the most snobbish register I have, a voice dripping with intellect and/or money... I am not so simply satisfied. If for some reason you are reading this and are in the ny-metro area, spend $25 and go see A Midsummer Night's Dream at the most excellent BAM Harvey Theater. (Production by Propeller and Watermill Theater, Directed by Edward Hall.) Catch it before it leaves after March 28th!

Why see it? It's one of the most enjoyably funny, multi-faceted, interesting and well-acted productions I've seen of this play and is among the top of my list of many plays I've seen this semester. You can run into this one many times during your life... High school english, school plays, that movie with Michelle Pfeiffer and Calista Flockhart and the bicycles ... Spend some time in London or Oxford and you become paranoid that certain Shakespeare plays are stalking you, and this is one of them.

The troupe is all-male and this not only harkens back to the Shakespearean tradition, it somehow adds an interesting dimension, and I'm not exactly referring to homo-eroticism here, to issues of gender, power, control, and of course love itself. Yes, I like to string a bunch of large terms together and not comment further on them.

My favorite character was Puck, most superficially cuz I kinda liked his outfit. Hee. Striped socks and a tutu? Can only be fun. But I was surprised cuz I never liked Puck as a character before, in productions or reading of the text. Among the superb slapstick, there are moments where he as well as the other characters gleam through the apparent fluffiness of the antics to the darker, more disturbing as well as the more tender, human moments.

During intermission, we were treated to some 'half time' entertainment by the charmingly rogue-ish British cast, singing songs like "dreams" and "i'm a believer" rollickingly and then entreated us to donate $ to The 52nd Street Project , a non-profit org that apparently has something similar in London, that matches kids with professional theater artists for mentoring and producing their own works.

The glowing NYT review which of course surpasses my idlish vague attempt at description.

Interviews with directors of Shakespeare plays in NY: Jonathan Miller (King Lear), Edward Hall (A Midsummer Night's Dream), and Bartlett Sher (Pericles).

Tuesday, March 23, 2004

the spotless mind

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I watched Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind a couple days ago and was quite taken with it. Go see it. If you know me, it's exactly the kind of movie that I'd like. If you don't know me, go see it anyway. Watch the trailer and clips at the focus features site ... just click on "media."

You can listen to the soundtrack here. Stars for inclusion of Polyphonic Spree and Beck.

Read about the Science of Eternal Sunshine . It's a rather interesting article about the brain and memory stuff in the movie. Mmmm. Neuroscience. Yummy with milk. I keep on running into the mysterious amygdala in my readings. They say its the seat of emotions and fears, to put it generally. It's got a great name. Amygdala. Don't name your kid that though.

And then, I leave you with the only thing that succeeded in making me laugh all day: Australian tries to unravel the mysteries of American foods. Of course, the majority of the list is southern food and beverage. It's hilarious. Give it a taste.

Tuesday, March 16, 2004

winter wonderland

Thumbs Down: "Welcome back from Spring Break!" said NYC with a big smile and then proceeded to bluster me around and then throw jagged crystals of sleet and hail in my face. Ow my blood hurts!

Thumbs Up: Passing the SE corner of Central Park all wintry and wonderlandy. And then seeing an oldish gentleman making a 2 foot snowman on the hood of his? car while wife laughs girlishly at him.

ossify and apostasy, all in one song

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hello. it's been awhile. et tu brute? Did you beware the Ides of March? I certainly didn't.

hmm. What's been interesting lately? hmmmm. continue humming. it's supposed to relax you. if you're a bird. look there she goes again, her brain's on a roll down the hill.

Ok back to sanity (wild laughter). Went to see the fabulous mister Ted Leo a couple days ago at Maxwell's in Hoboken, NEW JERSEEEEEEY. I love how Ted has all this NJ pride. It just reinforces and validates mine and you know how I love my daily dose of Validation .. the new purple pill! New Jersey is cool because we never pretend to be cool. Ted Leo just seems like the nicest coolest guy and he's smart! because of course everybody mentions his intense vocabulary. Shout out to my Momz for making me study all those thousands of SAT vocab flashcards! Those words DO come into use! Take that Apocryphal and Dirigible! One day you may end up on some cool song! Yeah, so I'm mainly a Star-Friender. Not a Star-Fucker. I just want to befriend all the cool people. Isn't that a healthier attitude to have anyway? So be my friend, and I'm asking in a way that's not pathetic and needy.

How I get off track. But the show was great. Ted Leo and his Pharmacists (the girl wasn't there) put on a good show cuz well, they play amazingly! The logic wins out, I'm afraid. Smart, Intensely Energetic, and Damn Catchy. My three adjectives. They played all my favs from the latest album Hearts of Oak and all my other favorites cuz they're all my friendsssssss. Erm, maybe you should download a song or something.

We Ragazzi and French Toast opened. French Toast bored me. We Ragazzi I liked actually but I can't find their site or any mp3s that match the liking I felt at the show. Maybe they're one of those bands better live. I dunno. Do you? I like their name, it sorta rolls out nicely like the word 'acetaminophen'. Although I think 'ragazzi' means 'girls' in italian and the lead singer's a guy. how's that for funny.

Currently listening to and enjoying: Mirah - Advisory Committee (Thanks Deepal! )

Thursday, March 04, 2004

Cafe-Hopping: Part II

The search for non-Starbucks alternatives abound... if you know where to look.

We shall focus today on a relatively new place, which according to their website still has the paint drying. Located in Chelsea (403 W. 24th St. off of 9th Ave), Matchbox, as its name so aptly implies, is a small, cosy space with an artsy diy feel to it. There's lots of artwork on the walls and cool jewelry and crafts that both decorate and are on sale. Four tables plus a nice pillow-ful window seat area. Lightings a bit dim but they have votives on the tables and I'm always a sucker for those. My french roast was decent and the baked goods seemed to be pretty popular. Lots of people seemed to stop in for to-go orders and I'm not sure if it ever gets bustling. It's a nice quiet stop for those who want to lounge and read but also a good stop-over for Chelsea gallery-trekkers to refuel or wind down.

Wednesday, March 03, 2004

click right on over

Hee. Funny essay: How Blogs Are Ruining My Life. How much of my time has been wasted checking my bloggy dailies? Whatever. My own site is only evidence of how uncool I am and to give my fellow procrastinator friends some letters mashed together to feed their habit. But otherwise, I echo the very humorous Whitney Pastorek: "join with me in saying NO! NO to letting them diminish our self-worth! NO to letting them drag us out to flash mobs! Turn your faces to the sun! Stand and fight!"

Radiohead makes kids want to cry or put glue in their ears instead of their mouths. Children just don't seem to like what's hip in rock these days. dakka dakka dakka. The Morning News turns the tables around to weigh in on how children's music makes them feel.

And finally, Prefix interviews The Walkmen. Fun and amazing fact: Ham is even taller than Conan! I didn't think that was possible!

Tuesday, March 02, 2004

Problems

I have just noticed my rather inexplicable overuse of the word 'overquaint' in my last two entries. I don't understand why the words appear twice, as I can't think of anything right now that I could describe as overquaint. I never even use the word 'quaint' on a regular basis. It's just a funny word with many vowels squished in the middle that I will avoid in the future. I don't know where this hostility towards this characteristic comes from. But just give me a cool job that pays well and it'll all be good. Tha-anks.

I Like Young People

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Lately, I've been feeling crummy, slogging my way through days like they were buttons. First one, then the next. Blahblahblah what's new? But Young People's War Prayers shines its way through my speakers, rebuking my bad button metaphors and uplifting my sloggy days.

Young People plays haunting, evocative tunes that recall the folk songs of Americana or Ireland. Situated far from over-quaint or the artsy-fartsy, the folk and rock aspects actually mesh, producing a collection of graceful, sly, and toe-tapping tracks. (There. That mash of adjectives is why I cannot write about music. Try try again. Slog slog)

Katie Eastburn's unadorned but beautifully expressive voice is in a way showcased with the guitar and percussion sometimes stepping back entirely. Some tracks take an almost hymn-like quality, and others romp around. With poetic imagery of the sky, stories of abandonment and love, Young People hit on joy, melancholy, wonder, recklessness, and mourning. With lyrics like: can't find the graveyard/in time/ we all travel light/I sing because I am happy/ I sing because I am free -- I can't help but put War Prayers in my cd player every morning to help me start the day.

Check Young People out for mp3s and tour dates.

Buy War Prayers despite my inability to express how much I like this music. Uniqueness! And their name doesn't start with "The"!

Monday, March 01, 2004

Caféhopping: Part I

Happy March! The weather gods have relented and granted us beautiful temperatures and even some sun. Restaurants throw wide their doors for outdoor seating, and people bring out their summer vacation smiles. It's a nice change.

I've finally taken up my quest for the local non-Starbucks café once again, though because of time restrictions, I've really been cheating and scouring the internet for leads. Really, I think I've been happiest and most peaceful this week at various cafés.

First in this caffeinated series will be Jack's Stir-Brewed Coffee. Located in the West Village (136 W. 10th St @ Greenwich St.), this is a charming local favorite. The place is pretty tiny with four or five tables, a counter area, and a bench out front, with great lighting for reading even after sun-hours. If you have to go to the bathroom, you have to go behind the counter into the back and you get to see that barista point of view. The servers seemed genuinely friendly and chatty. On the tables were tin cans (you know, the kind that you make tin-can telephones out of? Did anybody ever do that?? Am I missing out on some integral childhood experience??) with fresh cut flowers. Coffee was tasty, and they go organic and fair-trade.

I was sitting next to one of the regulars, a man from New Zealand, perhaps the only New Zealander not to be thanked at the yawn-ful Oscars yesterday. He got into a conversation with this NYU student from Australia and I couldn't help listen to them talk because I'm inordinately in love with accents. Apparently, the café has weekly movie nights, and this guy seemed to be in charge of that. (The next one is an Orson Welles flick.) Then there actually is a guy named Jack! who owns the place and was nice enough to close the door when he saw that people were a bit chilly.

Downside is that it closes pretty early, 6 or 7, but I may have read the sign wrong on my way out. Anyways, a very cosy friendly place without being gimmick-y or over-quaint like a kooky patchwork quilt.