Tuesday, December 27, 2005

belga café



Hope everybody had a nice holiday whatever whatever you celebrate. I did attend church with the Momz on Christmas and had an incredibly awkward experience not belonging there (oh! just like life!) though there was a special EngRish highlight where after the mass during the eating in the church basement festivities included the priest taking the mike and saying, "Happy Jesus!.... Birthday!!" Oh, those funny Koreans.

Anyways, I'm going to write some more about food. Because it provides me with much happiness. If I were at a Chinese restaurant, apparently, this would be called Double Happiness. And it would include like.. pork, chicken, water chestnuts and some sort of brown sauce. But Double Happiness this is not!

I seem to do more fooding in DC than in New York. This might be true. Because I tend not to go to fun places by myself and instead hurry home to my brooklyn burrow after work and eat some old pasta or hummus and watch tv and grow blobbier ... but visiting! That's different! You're obligated to eat, drink, be merry!

A weekend or two ago, I was in DC visiting some friends. We had planned on brunching at Eastern Market on Capital Hill, because they're supposed to have great pancakes there. And my only request for the weekend was.. "PANCAKES!" Eastern Market is this outdoors market full of a jumble of stuff, stalls for food and clothes and knick-knacks and even rugs with tanks on them and I got to try out a Tibetan singing bowl. (Wow, that was a really poorly constructed sentence, like made out of Tonka tools and lincoln logs.) They have a food corner with all sorts of goodies like NC bbq .. BUT they do not serve brunch on Sundays. THUS, no pancakes.

But somebody positively brilliant steered us towards Belga Café, a few blocks away. And it is my FAVORITEST PLACE EVER IN THE WORLD!!!!!

Because they have everything wonderful that I love. Waffles. Pommes frites. Desserts. Fabulous coffee. Even Lambique beer that tastes like magical raspberry juice, though I did not partake in any that day.

The inside is rather all clean lines and lots of light and Euro-hip with the clientele verging more on the not-very-young, (comparatively) sophisticated side, but the service is nice and just look at the food! I had plain belgian waffles which was crispy and light and fluffy and came drizzled in brown sugar, a drizzle of syrup, fresh whipped cream and some raspberries. Sublime. I also split a plate of scrambled eggs with fresh herbs, english muffin and potatoes and the table split a few orders of belgian fries which were nicely not too oily and crispy. All for that necessary balance in life called Salty & Sweet.

During the course of brunch, I also had four cups of strong Illy coffee. And made our waiter think that I had been drinking a different sort of drink because I was acting all strange and happy-like. Chuh.


A friend had a savory waffle with goat cheese and oh, I forget, but isn't it pretty?

And you can't leave without dessert. This was a sampler of creme brulées. Vanilla, chocolate, and pumpkin with raspberry coulis. The sugar brulée was perfectly crunchy. Lovely lovely lovely!
And though I say I never go fooding in New York, I must report that yesterday included a near robyn-style full-day excursion with stops for shwarma and falafel at Mamouns, almost tortuosly thick hot chocolate at Jacques Torres Chocolate Haven, some ginger snaps and a chestnut-honey madeleine (their best!) at Sweet Melissa's Patisserie on Houston (an offshoot a Brooklyn fav.), a pitstop at Jamba Juice, and then some tea and scones at Alice's Tea Cup. To put up the front that we were in the city for reasons other than food was a half hour visit to the Met Museum which closed on us and some time browsing the Strand with their usually skinny clientele. We should have brought them with us and fed them things.
The end! Eat nice things! Because the rest of the world is depressing!

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Dream a little dream

I dreamt about rotting food last night, which is a new thing. It was a bit disturbing, how gross everything was. And there were some bananas and I was thinking, I can't even make banana bread out of this.

The dream dictionary explains: To see or eat stale food in your dream, suggests that you are feeling sluggish and emotionally drained. You need to be invigorated and revitalized.

Maybe my brain is rotting. And not even cannibals will want to make brain bread out of it. Ok that was really grosssss.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

grilled cheese

I always feel a bit daft (yes, daft) ordering grilled cheese at diners. I mean, it's grilled cheese. Yet I often do and perhaps this explains why I am daft (1: silly, foolish; 2: mad, insane; 3: not to be followed by punk), oftener than not. Most likely, it consists of two slabs of wonder bread drenched in butter with some slices of Kraft singles, maybe served with fries or soup. Greasy Goodness, the alliterators like to call it. Most people can make an excellent grilled cheese of their own at home, with nice bread and nice cheese. But whatever version, there's not much better simpleness than a grilled cheese sammich.

But really, I should stop ordering that crap. The end.

Anyhow, my point? Yes, points. Before going to see the always excellentExplosions in the Sky the other day, some friends and I went to a li'l restaurant on the lower east side called Grilled Cheese that had been tucked into my little brain in the to-eat-at-list which I can never access. Somebody who knows about brains should do something about that.

Anyway, the sandwiches here would so win fights against Krafty concoctions and remain just lovely, not even breaking a cheesy sweat (ew!). They're grilled with olive oil (according to this Columbia piece) in a sort of panini press, I think, so that they're just crunchy enough with nice ingredients and real cheese. I got the "Grilled Garden" which is, if I remember correctly, cheddar, hummus, tomato, cucumber, red onion, some greens, and a touch of vinaigrette. Cheesabulous! and came with chips. Chipabulous! My tomato soup was a bit..marinara-consistency, but it was fresh-tasting and I got to feel virtuous for not getting fries.

My friends got other kinds of sandwiches. I don't remember. But not because they were imaginary friends or anything. They got fries too. They were similarly pleased. The menu includes other goodies like milkshakes and salads and cookies and wine and beer. All in all, a nice little spot in the über-trendy side o'town (not SoHo, as that Columbia journalist tries to point out).

My new fantasy future now includes opening a restaurant called Cravings. It would serve the major basic cravings of the general populace. You know, because you can generalize like that with no problem. The menu would be listed as 'eclectic' and include cheese-based things, chocolate-based things, and bread-based things. And fried stuff. And some Korean dishes. And hummus. And turkish coffee. OK, maybe it would just serve everything in the world and we'd all sit down together for a good meal and then I would single-handedly bring about world peace. The End.

Pics of eits here from Robyn who I randomly ran into (whom into I randomly ran??? hahahahhaha) at the concert.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

the rambling row



Hello! I have returned! Where have I been? Nowhere! It is a magical place, next to Neverneverland, except you don't have to fly to get there - you just sort of lay around and don't do anything (no motion sickness!) - and you have to grow up anyway and you barely put on a respectable front of everyday matters like going to work and paying your bills and not living in a den of iniquity. I just wanted to say 'den of iniquity' just to spice it up a bit. Nowhere doing nothing is worse than flat soda and worser than worse, than flat champagne. Cuz then it isn't even champagne anymore because you can't call it bubbly. And this means that its very nature has been changed. Look how even more rambly I've gotten.

Maybe I'm just being hard-headed, like a goat, with one of those yellow construction helmets, waiting for some grand change to come over me, to goad me into Action!! Maybe I misplaced that thingy that they use for movies that says Scene 23, Take 150,402. Action!!! and all I'm left with is a boom mike and it's just picking up all this crackly silence. Maybe the fish aren't biting. Or maybe I'm just running amok with wild figurative language. Either way, I'm chugging along with a deep desire to give everything up and just bum around. Or maybe Bridget Jones's friends love me JUST THE WAY I AM.

Anyhoo, I'm thinking of switching platforms for this site, over to wordpress, if I ever awake from this catatonic state. Have any suggestions for redesign? Do y'all like the random list-o-links on the right? Should I talk more about dens of iniquities? Less Grey's Anatomy? And I guess there's a couple more books and movies I've read and seen about which I've been meaning to share my delightfully flat-champagne thoughts. I'm ever so popular at parties. And if my comments don't work because evil spammers are attacking my spaceship and I'm too busy pressing random buttons on a control board and looking very stressed out, just send me an email.

Hell, just send me an email anyway. I want to say Hi You! And then you will say Hi! And it'll be great. Just like world peace.

And now it's time for a cookie and milk before bedtime. Because the rational part of me is already asleep. As she so often is.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Hello, telly

There are people who don't watch TV. Some of them go out of their way not to, to decry the trash that is this accessible god, this American idolatry. Sure there's lots of trash but I find this behaviour a bit strange. As if they would be afraid that they might like something on the boob tube. And then I'd make them say "boob tube."

Anyways, I like TV. And you may know about my latest tv show crush, Grey's Anatomy. Part of what is so great about the show is the seemingly unconscious presentation of a racially diverse cast of actors. Okay, maybe unconscious isn't the right word; it makes it sound as if the creators and producers were bludgeoned on the head for a time, knocking them out, and then the next thing they knew when they woke up, there are all these black and asian peoples (no latino? I haven't watched all the eps) running around in scrubs to canadian pop-rock. What I mean is that the episodes aren't special hallmark issues about race nor are all the minority characters marked as such from the start. They're subtle pokes, take it or leave it.

It's how Sandra Oh's character didn't get the "Yang" affixed to the Cristina until Oh got the part and this past week's "Steve Murphy" character was an Indian dude. It's how Joe the bartender introduces his gay, Asian boyfriend at Thanksgiving dinner and Cristina's like, "whatever. where's the booze." Cristina's called on to translate some Chinese lady, and she deadpans, "No. I grew up in Beverly Hills. The only Chinese I know is from a Mr Chow's menu. Besides, I'm Korean."

The blog, racial pro-file, has has some good entries on this subject, most recently about the inclusion of Asian males. He brings up a really great point that I'd never considered about one of my favorite characters, Dr. Bailey, excellently played by Chandra Wilson:
When Rimes isn't writing, the show is worse on all levels, including racially. But the Bailey character is the prototype minority activist warrior--she not only outperforms the white folks and men around her, she destroys them. Her character is so powerful, that even when white folks write, they are forced to consider a minority perspective in order to make her at all believable. That's a major accomplishment on Rimes' part.

Imagine that! Creating such a great character that other writers have to take alter their way of seeing things! She's retained in her creation some amount of control.
And that's the thing. I think I've more clearly figured out what bothers me about stuff like that book by the Kim sisters, urging others to keep it real and go for the money. It's about power. Yes it's hard to argue that those who earn lots of money, especially doing good works (or even bad) through doctoring or lawyering or other things, have a lot of power. But those minorities who carve out a place in the media have a lot of power for change as well.
I once wrote something about this issue whilst in school, tempering my stance saying something like well, maybe it's not the answer to say, lay down your scalpels, your briefcases all, and pick up those guitars, those scripts! And I got called out on that, with a comment that reminded me, well no, nothing's going to change, perception will not be majorly influenced, unless there is more visual representation.
We're not just social animals now, we're media animals. And who's going to listen and look if you're not even there? At least we have a general situation here that doesn't require resorting to setting cars on fire, merely to remind others to look, listen, and learn, we are here. Some of you, who are so inclined, can just work really hard, maybe even appear on the telly, and change things that way too. Don't spurn the boob tube.

Monday, November 28, 2005

thanksgiving at the fortress

The formerly titled Fortress Nightingale goes all out on Thanksgiving. Sometimes there is kimchi. Sometimes there is not. But otherwise, it gets all american what with a green bean casserole where all the ingredients come from a can, and cranberry sauce, which sploops out from a can, and you'd almost expect sweaters and scotch glasses and golden retrievers and people who work here instead of pink-faced Korean ladies uproariously laughing about something or other and their children of all ages loyally making fun of them.

Then there's the question gauntlet portion of the evening. "So, are you having fun at work?" Fun? Do I ask them if they had fun bringing up their children? No. I am eating my corn. Are you having fun? What a weird question. I'm envisioning a line like at an amusement park to get in the fun elevator to get in the fun door with my fun security magnetic card thingy and sit in front of my fun computer to deal with my fun spam e-mail and then answer questions from fun old people. It's pretty freaking exhilerating. They should make it the new ride at Great Adventure.

Following quickly is the question of, when am I going to school again? I dug out my 'stonewall-janet' act of icy "I don't know's" and moved on to my yams. Or were they sweet potatoes? Go soon, they urged, while you are young. And you can catch a man. Fortunately, I was spared any further man talk.

My middle-aged cousin who is getting her masters is some sort of education thingy came a little late. She asked me the same questions. Then her mom started nagging her too and she got the same routine. And then I realized, my heart mashed as my potatoes, oh.my.god.it.never.stops.

My other cousin, mother of two herself, reminded me because I wouldn't know this, that this is how Korean mothers are.

A couple of days later, I read over some college essays for the son of a family friend. His mother had implored me to advise him on choosing a major. She seemed, very dramatically, at the end of her parenting rope. He seemed to have leanings towards politics and law. So driven, these young! He explained his mother's sighs of woe and terror. She wanted him to be a doctor. I then said a bit too loudly, okay well, maybe I shouted a bit too crazily, "Don't let them get you!!!!!" He hunkered down and looked for escape routes as I shook my fist.

Friday, November 18, 2005

chocolove

gingercho.jpg My new favorite chocolate - by chocolove. 65% dark with crystallized ginger. Yummy! And they have a policy against exploited/forced labor. Their FAQs also answers, "Why is there a strong association between chocolate and love?" I know that one already. Because it's calorifically DELICIOUS and fills that void of chocolove within my chocoheart.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

AzN upDaTe bY **anGelZbaBeEkimChi***

So, Jun Choi is mayor of Edison! He's Edison's first Asian mayor. I hope he does good things. He'll have a lot on his plate. If he fails, he'll *GASP*... dishonor the family, the nation of Korea, all Asians everywhere!!! Look JunChoi, don't go all Butterfly and let some white sailor dude come swinging by with promises of marriage and asking you to go to see Green Day, and then when you say you've never heard of them, he'll say "how cool is that?" and then he'll go to your room and read your diaaarrryyy. Dear Diary: I think I like strawberry lip gloss the best. My friend got some pink Ugg boots. I'm soooo jealous. Oh, and today I won the mayoral election. YEssssss - I just made an irrelevent, unfunny opera-Weezer mash-up joke.

Jun to the Choi won to this sore loser. Interesting fact in this article: The US Dept of Justice was called in to monitor primary polls. Some findings: poll workers telling federal observers voters should learn English in order to vote; and a poll worker stating when a Gujarati or Hindi-speaking voter appeared she would "send them to the nearest gas station. For shame!!! And besides, tell those poll workers that Edison and neighboring Iselin is integral to the New York Times Dining section for every article on Indian food that they do. That'll ... not shut them up. It'll be interesting to see if/when there will be any racial backlash and how Choi's term plays out.

And following up on those pesky Kim sisters, an article that focuses on the negative effects of such parental pressures to conform to a narrow definition of success. 50 Cent had nothing, I'm assuming, to do with the titling of this piece: Succeed or Die Trying. (Sensitive!) Now, if the 'trying' had been 'tryin,' I would have suspected that Ms. Eng got a helping hand from Mr. Fitty. Still, a very sobering and not well-known fact: Asian-American women holding the highest suicide rates in the nation among women age 15 to 24--an American age category that holds the highest general suicide rates to begin with, according to the National Center for Health Statistics.

Joy Dietrich is in the process of making a movie, Tie a Yellow Ribbon, which addresses this.

I got some St. John's Wort yesterday at Whole Foods and will be giving it a try to see if that alleviates the 'sitch'.

healthy <strike>wealthy</strike> and <strike>wise</strike>

I love Hummus Place. You can spend less than $10 here and get stuffed with hummus and pita until your preppy-button down shirt pops off like a cartoon with a big ping! and then your eyes get all big like saucers. Plus they have mint tea and turkish coffee and baklava and yrmrmrmmummm.

They also have a salad on their menu called "Health Salad" that is quite refreshing (and cuts the uber-hummusness of every bite) and quite easy to make. Or imitate, at least. The ingredients are listed on their menu, and I decided to try making some.

What to do:
Chop up a tomato or two. Pretty small pieces - that goes for the rest of the chopping.
Sort of peel and chop up a cucumber or two
Chop up some red onion. Go easy if you will be breathing on people.
Chop up some parsley
Squeeze some lemon. Don't be stingy.
Pour some nice olive oil. Do not call it E.V.O.O.
Add a pinch of salt.
Mix that up.

et Voila! Health! Salad! SO EASY! I like having it with the Sabra hummus I get from the store, sometimes with a boiled egg, and warmed up pita or flatbread.

There's a picture of it at gothamist that YP took if you are curious to see what chopped up vegetables look like.

Monday, November 14, 2005

State of Emergency

Last week, I attended PEN's State of Emergency:Readings Against Torture, Arbitrary Detention & Extraordinary Rendition – continuing a series that began with a reading last summer on free speech. Salman Rushdie, as president of PEN, again headed the stellar line-up whose reading choices were excellent: moving, forceful, and engaging. Especially for the woman behind me who sealed each turn with a sympathetic-sounding-I'm-so-into-this "Mmmmmm."

Rushdie started off the proceedings with a little logic puzzle. W. says the US doesn't torture. But the administration is moving to block any legislation against torture. (Today, the Post announces a compromise among McCain's amendment to ban torture, putting us back into being more in accords with the standards set by the Geneva Convention and Sen. Graham's original proposition to strip away the prisoners' rights to habeas corpus.)

I highly recommend checking out the audio of the whole event, which left me more angrysad with disturbing lingering images from the readings, of people adorning trees like spanish moss and dismembered ears leaning on the ground. All the poems were excellent, many of them by Latin American poets. Other recommendations include the incredibly satirical story by Donald Barthelme "Some of Us Had Been Threatening Our Friend Colby" read by Heidi Julavits and From "Exhibit D," legal documents from a prisoner at Guantánamo Bay read by the fabulous Jessica Hagedorn, and the journalist/lawyer Emma Reverter's account of Guantanamo.

Playwright Edward Albee signed off his reading with, "If we dont learn from history, they tell us, we're bound to repeat it." You know, even after we've figured that part out long ago, stuff like "Never again," it doesn't seem to change our behaviour, does it? We are so smrt.

More reading material:
A Deadly Interrogation. Jane Mayer from the New Yorker takes an in-depth look at prisoner abuse and the government/military response. She is interviewed and talks about her article.

An excerpt, Leadership Failure: Firsthand Accounts of Torture of Iraqi Detainees by the US Army's 82nd Airborne Division, from a Human Rights Watch report, published a few weeks back in the New York Review of Books.

Broken Social Scene did a really great live session at KCRW's Morning Becomes Eclectic playing stuff from the new album and it's nice cuz it's acoustic-y, not all fuzzy from production, and you can even make out some of the lyrics!! Plus the Feist song, Intuition, not that one that Jewel does in that razor commercial. Pink! for Women!

Two fans have ripped mp3s of the thing here.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

the sympathetic nod

teasymp.jpg


In compensation for not being able to attend the Chocolate Show, an extravanza of a substance which Robyn most appetizingly called, "the best turd colored food in existence," I bought a nice bar of Jacques Torres Wickedly Spiced 60% Dark Chocolate. Best $5 therapy I ever had. The description on the site says: Imagine what dark chocolate with ancho and chipotle chilis would do to you. It's a warm penetrating heat in your throat. Share this with someone special. I think sharing with all my selves count. They're all nodding back at me with ancho chili smiles.

Anyhow, last week, I was supposed to meet some friends for tea on Monday. When we were on the phone discussing a meeting place, I was clearly not really paying attention. I said something about tea and I said something about sympathy and see ya there. I went to Sympathy for the Kettle while my friend went to Tea and Sympathy. Our collective sympathetic bads.

I decided to go meet them as I'd never been to the Brit ex-pat outpost. We met up at, well, a café across the street (called "Soy". yeah seriously.) because there are rules. You follow the rules at Tea and Sympathy. The customer is not always right. You can't be seated without the whole party. But I brought the party and we entered the cosy establishment. (There are some rules on the door and on the menu - stuff like you can stay if there's nobody around but leave if there are people waiting. $9 something minimum per person. etc etc)

The atmosphere was at once warm and butter-like. In that it smelled like butter. It was fantastic. You can come here for traditional English fare like shepherd's pie, baked beans on toast, welsh rarebit and pretend you're in the land of the queen mum. Our service was brisk but not unfriendly. My friends got scones and something with rhubarb, I don't remember. And I got warm spicy ginger cake. I was unprepared because I didn't realize it was a pudding. So it was warm spicy ginger cake in a bath of warm custard. I was positively giddy. GIDDY with custard and cake sugary joy. Paired with black ginger tea, perfectly brewed and tea strainer provided (I kept forgetting to use it), it was a lovely nighttime teatime. It sounds kinda pricey for tea time but it was just as expensive as a fancy martini. CUSTARDDDDD!!!

I also found Teamap, a pretty nice tea directory with pictures and reviews etc. so go find a new tea house and drink a cuppa.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Voice complaints

Sorry the commenting function was all cracked out for a couple of days. Apparently, "http" is called "questionable" and then rejected.

So if you had wanted to contribute your lovely voices and were denied, argh! and sorry!!!

And when did the new version of movable type come out? Now I have to upgrade and I hate it. Because I'll do it all wrong.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

grey's anatomy



Okay. Well, Grey's Anatomy is my TV crush of the season. I lurrve it. It plays that silly indie music I like, and makes me laugh (on the inside) and cry (on the outside), and generally feel a little bit ridiculous because this weirdly soap-opera-ish primetime hospital dra-medy knows how to push my emotional buttons. The cast aint bad-lookin' either. Ha!

Some commenter in the TVoP forum described the show as "shockingly watchable" to which I wholeheart-on-my-sleevedly agree. So there you go. I'm on the slippery path towards becoming one of those people who become part of a tv forum community to post something like: I lurrurururuuvee George and my forum icon will be a picture of him. Because he is so damn dorky-cute. Or maybe the icon will be the fabulous Sandra Oh. Cuz she's Korean. And we're all alike.

T.R. Knight, who plays George, was actually in a couple of good plays I saw during my stint at LANY. I went digging through my old playbills after some googling. Yeah. Nerd. Watch out. Next time you'll be like, "Hey, watsup J?" And then I'll be like, "Oh you know. The usual. Running the fan websites for Grey's Anatomy cast members and writing some more fanfic..." And then that's your cue to run far far away from me, flailing your arms and bemoaning the end of the world as you know it.

At least it's not the O.C.

Friday, November 04, 2005

4.48 psychose

bam.jpg

(Long entry. Looooongggg. And probably lots of verb tense mix-ups. Like your favorite cocktail. Bring me my mojito with the past present! Wheeeee!)

This past friday, I went to see Isabelle Huppert in 4.48 Psychose. I think I was sufficiently warned about this difficult theatrical experience. First of all, it's Isabelle Huppert; what I know of her work is enough to cause squishy happy huggy people to explode with combustible troubled thinking into noir-ish smoke. I knew the play was something to the tune of Sarah Kane's exploration of deep depression and contemplations on suicide. Plus, ticket-buyers also received a letter in the mail beforehand making sure we understood that the play, originally in English, was to be performed entirely in French, with "relatively rare" supertitles. The director Claude Régy also chimed in: The static actress is the center. It is through her face, her voice, her body, that the whole "show" takes place...It would be destroying Isabelle Huppert's work if one had to look up too often in order to read the supertitles. Okay – super depressing static untraditional play in mostly untranslated French by one of the most intimidating actors alive today in an intermissionless 1 hour and 45 minute work. Give me my popcorn and m&ms and bring in the clowns! the sad crazy french clowns and let's get this crazy whirlwind of fun circus started!!

So I was a bit nervous as I sat down in the balcony of BAM and snuck some bites of chocolate before the lights went dark to calm my elementary French understanding nerves. Then after a bit of silence, there is Huppert, standing center stage in a rectangular pool of light with actor Gérard Watkins behind a scrim. The play is written out almost like free-form poetry. Thus, dialogue is not necessarily assigned to specific people. The first production of the play had three actors, while in this, Huppert was the character struggling with psychosis, with herself, and Watkins was the ambiguous conflation of doctor/lover/oppressor/outsider who remained behind that scrim when he was visible. And not more than fifteen minutes passed when people started leaving the theater. Didn't they get the letter? I pondered. In any case, the leaving, which continued at a trickle throughout the next half hour, was otherwise totally understandable, as a matter of taste and level of French comprehension.

While I find the lack of translation thing rather questionable, I wonder how the perceptions of the audiences were affected differently, depending on their competence in the language. I think I got by with maybe 40-50% of the French, even with the help of the "rare supertitles," and for me, for a good amount of the time the gap didn't matter so much right then. It made me pay perhaps the closest attention I have ever had to in the theater, to the sound of the words and their rhythms, to Huppert's stare at us and her vocal modulations (or lack thereof), her barely noticeable shifts with her hands. And made me wish I was sitting closer.

The performance had the curious quality of being absolutely riveting while having very little expression of outward emotion, with mostly slow, sharp pronunciation, with occasional loudening and rhythmic incantations of adjectives, verbs, and downers like "No hope. No hope. No hope......" This Times review is spot on, likening Huppert's delivery of the text to a French diction class. Except instead of, "Please give me a coffee," it's declarations like, "I feel that the future is hopeless and that things cannot improve."

It wasn't all doom and gloom. Throughout the piece, there is humor... of the doom and gloom. The darkest and gallowiest of humors: sharp, dry, sardonic, but quite funny, if you appreciate that sort of thing. "Have you made any plans," the shadowy doctor asks. "Take an overdose, slash my wrists then hang myself." [beat] "All those things together?" A bit later: "I dreamt I went to the doctor's and she gave me eight minutes to live. I'd been sitting in the fucking waiting room half an hour." Yeah, life's like that sometimes.

The title comes from the time of early morning that Kane would awake during a period of depression and find herself in a state of clarity, a state which she called sanity, and as in the play 4:48 was a kind of "happy hour." (Huppert threw out those two words in English, perfectly, with a throaty world weariness.)

But the questioning of this work, structured and poetic as it is, as a piece of theater rolls easily off the brain. It's different, alright, but is this theater? Is there drama and all its trappings up there on the stage? Well, it doesn't have many trappings, and without a powerful actor like Huppert, I can imagine that it is near impossible to stage and some people would find this a boooooorrrringggg snoozefest in any staging. But I think this production made it work. Huppert's near impassive and immobile acting was appropriate, embodying the paralysis rendered by the chaos of the inside and the incapability to really take part in, to take in, life. She cannot Do things. This character is so angry, so begging to be saved, and to be loved, not to be looked at but watch her, she wants you to watch her disappear. She wants to die but she wants to live too. It's an utterly shifty state, which seems to call out for the immediacy of theatre, its verbalization and dialogue open for an audience to take all that in, all that madness and frustration and your own distance or proximity to someone else's breach from the so-called sane.

Kane killed herself not long after finishing this work at the age of twenty-eight, a fact that haunts the work and plops itself with no subtlety into every discussion of the play. Perhaps not fair, but near impossible to separate. But the intro to the complete plays of Sarah Kane brings up a good point and another reason why this works for the stage, describing the play's openness as something that allows the audience "to enter and recognise themselves within." The experience was fascinating, frightening, resonant, stark, and in large part thanks to one of the craziest, and yes talented, actresses of today and a really powerful work of art.

More on Sarah Kane

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Mountain Goats

mtgoats.jpg


The Halloween was well-spent, neither waiting for the Great Pumpkin nor wading amongst costumed revelry, though I did give the best costume award to a girl dressed up as a piece of sushi.

Instead, I accompanied a friend to the Knitting Factory to catch Prayers and Tears of Arthur Digby Sellers, Grizzly Bear aaaannnndndddd the Mountain Goats. I also have found that saying that I am going to see the Mountain Goats, in particular, provokes a strange little response from people who have never heard of them. "What? Mountain goats? Like ba-a-a-a-a? That's so weird." No, those sound more like sheep, but yeah. Like ba--aa-a-a.

Despite it being the big 3-1 of October, by the time the Goats came on, the place was packed, with some people in costume too. I was excited to hear prayers and tears... since I practically tattooed their song "lisa" on my ears and then cried the tattoos out through my eyes. (It doesn't even have to be possible. The Great Pumpkin FORGOT about me.) I had not however listened much to their likewise lengthily-titled album, and though I knew they were relatively peaceful players and I'm glad they rocked out a bit.

Grizzly Bear was interesting and yet not. Because my feet hurt. When they all sang, it was cool. I liked the drummer's sad clown makeup. And that, my friends, is scintillating music criticism.

I wasn't much familiar with the Mountain Goats prior to the concert, also being kind of put off by John Darnielle's voice. But it's probably something that takes a few listenings to get used to. But the set was great! fun and funny and great so that equals grfunneat! Yay! I loved the songs, the story-teller lyrics, the delivery, the fans' exuberance (even their singing along to every word was endearing), Darnielle's in-between-song-darkly-humorous-banter and his friar costume while singing about hailing satan and his so-happy-to-be-musicking-grin and bassist Peter's Death costume. I laughed many-a-time just looking over at Death With No Face, rocking out on the bass. Darnielle thanked the fans after each song and mentioned how much he loved coming to the Knitting Factory to do these shows and that if for some reason they blew up and played MSG, they would keep on doing the KF shows. A-w-w-wwww!

PTADB came back to back the duo, one member having joined the mummy cause and I wouldn't have minded if they just played every show together, as long as they played Lisa too. So now I guess I've been converted or something. Or at least I'll borrow some of my friend's cds.

Some more pictures of mine here (I need camera help.) and over at the dependable brooklynvegan.

Monday, October 31, 2005

The Great Pumpkin

pumpkin.jpg


Happy Halloween!
says Jack O'Lantern, who has been fabulously carved by Roommate's Boyfriend.

What are YOU dressing up as?

I'm dressed up as a disgruntled sleepy Janet. It's a reeeeaallly good disguise. Some people stopped me on the street today this morning and exclaimed, "Wow! You must be disgruntled Janet! Or Sleepy Janet!" and the really discerning ones could tell I was both. I threw them some candy corn because I can't abide the stuff.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Search Terms

Current fav. search terms which led some poor souls here. They are always spectacularly specific or astoundingly vague... or both at once!:

-Janet Crazy Salt
-pics of moldy brown bread
-funny sentence with specific words
-sexy words to describe flowers
-who is that chicken girl how she look like what about her (this one is obviously my favorite. perhaps they are lyrics? perhaps somebody is really looking for chicken-girl)

what is art?

Just heard about this series that the Guggenheim is doing called Marina Abramović: Seven Easy Piece. She is a prominent performance artist who rose to fame, well art-world fame, when performance art was in something of a heyday, when I imagine you couldn't help but run into somebody in new york, cutting themselves with razor blades, shouting mantras like "Chocolate, beauty, rage!", brushing their hair a hundred strokes and then diving into a pool of butter, or something. And finding transcendence.

Abramović will be performing/exhibiting (?which word to use?) for seven consecutive nights, doing her own work and presenting renditions of other seminal works from the 60s and 70s by artists who are and have been big names, again ... at least in the art world, like Bruce Nauman, Joseph Beuys, Vito Acconci and others.

I once went to a video installation exhibit at PS 1 Contemporary Art Center, which had floors of tv sets showing mostly black and white videos from this tiem period, many by these same performance artists, including a whole room of Abramović. First of all, it was kind of creepy, this huge old school all dark, with things blaring and screaming every which way with scary and confusing and repetitive images, probably more so by the sheer number than the works themselves. I suppose it was all very raw, which is a term that I don't much associate with 'these days'... I don't quite know where I'm going with that, but maybe we'll return to it.

The following is from the press release describing the works that'll be performed at the Guggenheim, comparing these acts to interpreting musical scores, as ensembles and classical musicians do. It still sounds kind of nuts and I wonder if the audience finds as much the artist does. Because being an audience member seems as much a self-inflicting painful experience as the work itself. I still don't have much of a grasp on the contemporary art world itself, even with some experiences with it, and it's weird to feel how distant and self-enclosed that arena is. I feel like contemplating this subject always leads me to: What is art and does it matter?

The works to be performed include:
Wednesday, November 9: Bruce Nauman, Body Pressure (1974), Galerie Konrad Fischer, Düsseldorf. Nauman constructed a false wall nearly identical in size to an existing wall behind it. A pink poster with black typeface invited visitors to perform their own action by pressing against the wall.
Thursday, November 10: Vito Acconci, Seedbed (1972), Sonnabend Gallery, New York. Acconci occupied the space under a false floor, masturbating and speaking through a microphone to visitors walking above in an attempt to establish an "intimate" connection with them.
Friday, November 11: VALIE EXPORT, Action Pants: Genital Panic (1969), Augusta-Lichtspiele, Munich. Wearing pants with the crotch removed, EXPORT walked through the cinema during a film screening, offering the spectators visual contact with a real female body. Walking up and down the aisles among the mostly male patrons, she challenged them to "look at the real thing" instead of passively enjoying images of women on the screen.
Saturday, November 12: Gina Pane, Self-Portrait(s) (1973), Galerie Stadler, Paris. Pane lay on a metal bed above lit candles. She then made incisions with a razor blade in the skin around her fingernails and lips while slides of women painting their nails were projected on the wall. Her back turned to the audience, she recited "They won’t see anything" while a camera recorded women’s reactions in the audience. Facing forward again, she gargled with milk and spit it into a bowl, until the milk and her blood mixed.
Sunday, November 13: Joseph Beuys, How to Explain Pictures to a Dead Hare (1965), Galerie Schmela, Düsseldorf. With his head covered in honey and gold leaf, Beuys cradled a dead rabbit, showing it pictures on the wall and whispering to it. He wore an iron sole on his right foot and a felt sole on his left.
Monday, November 14: Marina Abramović, Lips of Thomas (1975), Galerie Krinzinger, Innsbruck. Abramović ate a kilogram of honey and drank a liter of red wine out of a glass. She then broke the glass with her hand, incised a star in her stomach with a razor blade, and whipped herself until she "no longer felt pain." She lay down on an ice cross while a space heater suspended above caused her to bleed more profusely.
Tuesday, November 15: Marina Abramović will premiere a new performance created specifically for this project.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Review of Tom Vek's We Have Sound is up. The album comes out tomorrow.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

The sweet smell of success plus kimchi

To add on/respond to previous entry and comments:

Perhaps I could have made clearer, though it was probably rather transparent to begin with, that my very intense reaction to the article is due to my own severe upbringing. I had a stricter version of their life, the pressures of which I look back and presently upon with very negative feelings, which cause me to be very very wary and disturbed when I see similar situations (which actually don't number very highly) in other Korean families that I know.

I had hoped that my last paragraph implied that instead of speaking for all asian americans everywhere, I could but speak for myself. And though I do think the question, as Roger brings up, of whether the book is a good idea, is a valid one, my issue is not with the book itself, but with the attitudes within. A book does not force itself upon people and will find an audience in those who are interested in reading it. And even while I may find the stuff within the covers problematic, I cannot say this goes or doesn't go for anybody else.

As WHC says, "resentment of lots of asian americans for the way they were brought up is a responsibility of their own." But I cannot escape the fact that this does put an incredible burden on the child to sort things out and be very understanding and yet self-aware. You can't really argue with the good intentions of parents. This isn't a case where a mom is parasitically living off your body to live out their own childhood dreams to be a cheerleader (because she is a witch. and okay all my cultural references lead back to buffy). They are like heads of state. The children's security is national priority, and this always leads back to money, which then branches out into all relative paths of career, school, etc. (And that's what I meant by the emphasis on material wealth, not materialism.) And then they sort of retire and then the children come into their own as their own ruler, and then have to go around matching and fixing goals and ambitions. Ok maybe it was a bad metaphor to begin with; it's falling apart.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

The sweet smell of success

I recently forwarded this NYT article, Item: Sisters Think Parents Did O.K., to a few friends, who in part responded with a cool as a cucumber response, "This is such b.s." while another ranted, "WHAT?!?!??!?> Fuck aplfidhj alkjfhas liyhg 09uepwier q umda09w8yt40wyufpzjUF(P"#UR Popishf osaeh foahic '!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

The article describes a book that two sisters wrote called, Top of the Class: How Asian Parents Raise High Achievers - and How You Can Too although I would have went with How to successfully eradicate your kids' childhood and win hardened hearts and deepfelt resentment from them but it's all ok because they're now professionals and you have plastic-y names of top-ranked schools on the rear window of your car and their salaries and their future children to look forward to.

I obviously veered toward the ranting end and then took a sharp turn at imagined violence. If I ever encounter these sweet, obedient, highly successful ladies in a dark alley with my gang of bums, writers, and artists, we will throw our Apple computers (real bummy) and empty wallets and fascinating personalities and stupid existential despair and fucking careless joie de vivre and passion straight at their well-kept heads and mess.up.their.hair. WATCH OUT.
These Korean American sisters belong to that phenomenal class of people that are the children of Asian immigrants. They got candy bars for reading books. They spent hours studying and were allowed little tv, little friend-time, little life. They played piano, won prizes. They were JUST LIKE ME, except I never got candy for reading books. I read them anyway. And I became the biggest bestest liar on earth. Anyways, the older one is a doctor and married to an orthopedic surgeon. The younger, originally more rebellious, wanted to be a writer, but eventually headed off to law school and is now an immigrations specialist in Philly. In response to nipping the writer dream, the younger Kim says she's happy and that "American parents will say, 'Do whatever makes you happy, even if the talent isn't there'...You need a reality check." What a fucking presumptuous and narrow-minded thing to say, deciding for others the definition of happiness and its intersection with reality, that one isn't smart enough or self-aware enough to realize in time what is within reach and what is reaching too far.
The book may be cutting down the stereotype that As. Ams are just a naturally smart and nerdy peoples... but adds little value in that vein. We sure are hard-working. We sure are obedient. It seems like a book that merely prescribes their definition of success and though that's all I imagine any sort of self-help or child-improvement advice offered in print is really supposed to do - the idea that such-and-such method worked for me, so it should work for you! Whee! – it is offering a school of thought that I think are very often borne out of a strange sort of smallness and limits. A place that emphasizes name, appearance, and material wealth as a sign of happy security and is rooted in parents who sacrifice so much, questionably too much, erasing parts of themselves, their own potentials, to place the heavy weight of their hopes on their children instead.
I don't care that the Kim sisters chose the lives they did. And though the book is aimed at a certain niche, I don't have faith in the kind of word which they are attempting to spread. And from the article's inclusion of stats like the percentage of Asians at top universities and higher household incomes, it seems that the book's potential audience is not the parents of kids who are doing poorly but those whose philosophies line up snugly with the sisters. The professional life! The scrubs, the suit and tie, and the big name schools, they set their little ones up for life, the ticket to please, run past GO and don't forget to collect your $$$. (No matter that less eminent schools can offer a good education.)
I had even more to say.. will add later.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

suburban libraries

I think the New York Public Libraryis one of the greatest things ever. I mean, those lions? You can't find those in other places unless they're in saddened, dwarf-sized fashions guarding without so much as a roar but more like a "meh", the great suburban two-garaged two-and-a-half kidded house behind them. Rowr.

The NYPL has tons of everything ever and specialized branches and great events and exhibitions. But living in this apple-cheeked city means that there's usually about 10,000 people wanting the same book or whatever that you do, especially if it's a hyped-up, much talked-about release. Or if it's remotely popular. After a few exhausting trips to different library branches, I gave up and started reserving things and having them delivered to a branch real close to work. I usually forget about them so when I get the notice in my email, it's like a little present.

But I browsed the ol' hometown library today with much pleasure. I borrowed some Ishiguro and Coetzee and Chekhov. Even though the computerized catalogue was down, I was able to browse the few stacks without afterwards feeling like I'd run a marathon and was in need of some orange juice and bacon or saying excuse me squeezing by the many other oh so literate people. I helped out a mother and her daughter find Lovely Bones which is by Alice Sebold, not Mary Higgins Clark or Wally Lamb, as her mother haphazardly guessed. The teen daughter was like, "Seriously ma, what have you been reading?"

Leaving somewhat triumphant with my small stack o' books, I looked back at the library's non-personality, scattered with sullen-looking teenagers studying and parents blissed out reading and indian and chinese newspapers and the same librarians who have worked there since my childhood, one of who(m?) wearily waved me on when I promptly set off the alarm at the exit.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Banana Bread is for Winners



I made banana bread yesterday night to ward off negative thoughts and the chilly, relentlessly rainy crappiness outside. I was quite the domestic diva, making a cracked out version of bibimbap and banana bread – thank goodness I didn't get the two mixed up!! Gross!

Baking is the bestest because of the smells. I used this very easy recipe with a few moderations. The bread didn't rise very much, which is why you see a very squat piece of not very glamorous looking brown carb-mass above. (I think my camera is broken - everything comes out all fuzzed.) But it was pretty tasty and moist though next time, I will use more banana.

Ironically enough, in the corner of the picture, you will see a postcard advertising a gym. It's even my gym. I'm fighting a doomed battle, wielding breads and cookies against weak exercise. To the bottom right is part of the new Broken Social Scene album which I still need to listen to. They have little to do with banana bread or gyms. Until the whole collective starts a franchise of bakery-slash-gyms all over Canada. You just wait. Diabolical, yet incredibly cool, those Canadians.

Oh the recipe is below. This is great for mushy bananas you forgot were in the fruit bowl.

For one squat loaf in a 7x3 loaf pan. EDIT: Obviously, I have no eye for measurements. The loaf pan I used is clearly not 3 inches wide, nor was it seven inches long. But you know what? It doesn't really matter. It was a loaf pan. Not a Milkpan.
* 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
* 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
* 1/4 teaspoon salt
* 1/4 cup white sugar
* 1/4 cup brown sugar
* 1 egg, beaten
* 1/8 cup butter, melted
* 3-5 bananas, mashed (I used 3 smallish ones and felt it wasn't quite banana-y enough. So use more!)
*EXTRAS:
You can put in whatever modifications you like. I suggest not using beef or asparagus or something. I used some chocolate chips and 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon (maybe more. I spilled a little) and a pinch of ground cloves. I know walnuts are a popular addition to banana bread, but I'm not the biggest fan of walnuts. I wouldn't want to live in a house made of walnuts. Pistachios on the other hand...
1. Grease and flour 7x3 inch loaf pan. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
2. In one bowl, whisk together flour, soda, salt, and sugar. Mix in slightly beaten eggs, melted butter, and mashed bananas. Stir in any extras. Remember... no beef. Pour into prepared pan.
3. Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 1 hour (mine was done at 50 minutes), or until a wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Sisters, Forever!

maggart.jpeg Come to think of it, I don't know if I'm a rabid fan of any musician/band. Perhaps that's a good thing since I wouldn't quite know what to do with the foaming at the mouth or the random biting because it would totally get in the way of my cosy, basket-sized social life. But I don't think I can super-nerdily rattle off stalkeresque information of anybody with a CD out.

All that intro to say, I had no idea Fiona Apple had a sister! Who sings! and their last names are Maggart! Maude Maggart, the older sister, sings cabaret and old, personality-filled songs from the 20s and 30s. Think flappers and Depression and heyday of Broadway and Irving Berlin and Cole Porter ... you know, American 'standards.' (What are our standards now? Who makes them? Not Moby. Ha-ha. No really. Whose work do you think will/can be considered standards that people will cover? Like the jazz singer who sounds eerily like Billie Holiday, Madeleine Peyroux sings Elliot Smith's "Between the Bars" on her latest album...)

Maude, who has had some light opera training, got into the cabaret scene thanks to some people in the biz, plus her parents are b'way people. Cabaret, I imagine to be small, cosy (truly cosy not basket-cosy), full of tinkling dining ware and wine glasses, gleaming pianos and murmuring voices full of money while Gatsby looks hungrily through the window, his hand reaching towards the green light.

fiona.jpg

So I have no idea what I'm talking about. I like some of what I hear of hers but others, I'm not so sure. She's got a higher timbre than Fiona but they've got a similar vibrato going, though Maude seems versatile with the kind of sound she gets. This one is fun.

Or listen to this WNYC Soundcheckepisode. Oh, WNYC, you are my textbook! I have no other now.

Fiona, herself, was on Soundcheck as well recently. She performed a couple off of Extraordinary Machine and talked about the whole sony-shelf-jon-brion-free-fiona thing. I love her music but I found her a little disconcerting when she was talking to the host. Like she was really intense and nervous at the same time. But I think it's cool that the album art is a picture of a plant in her garden that she took herself. She liked it cuz a) it's an 'extraordinary machine' and b) the little green buds look like fists. POW POW! That extraordinary and machinistic for ya. On the back of the cd booklet, you see another close-up of the same plant, but in bloom with a multitude of rising little purple buddy flowers. Kind of makes you feel like a bug. CoooooOoOOl.

Well, they're like a mini Von Trapp family except without the corny songs and governess and nazis.... trailing off..
Look how similar Maude looks in this picture. OK Maggart family entry, c'est fini.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Beck, I love your hat

beck.jpg


On Friday, I went back to work. I took too much joy in that sick day I took on Thursday even though I was knocked out from the battle of illness cells and over-the-counter cells. It messed up my perspective like a crazy Picasso. I was like, wha? I can't sleep and drink tea the whole day? I gotta do work things? Do I look like I have one eye and a blue cubist face??

Anyways, I joined food and music blogger Robyn for BECKstravaganza at Hammerstein Ballroom. It sure beat waiting in a day-long of pouring rain in a stadium in NJ for Beck to slip and fall and not appear. (Curse you Field Day!! I am shaking my fist!)

Being a part-time fan, unlike the guy next to me who was alternately singing real loud and yelling with arms a-raised and knocking into every which way: "I LOoooOOoooOOoVe you Beck" like he was in teenage girl squad or something, I was taken aback by how many songs I knew. The energy in the crowd was great and Beck had a skizzilled crew on stage including a dancing man-cheerleader hype-guy and multi-instrumentalist Brian and a VJ (DVDJ? I'm not sure) who scratched DVDs and got these cool trippy colorful projections in the background. beck2.jpg He opened with Loser and went on to perform a very fun, great-sounding show (lots of guero but nice mix of old too), with entertaining props (telephone! banjo duel!) and gimmicks (giant radio!).

In the middleish of the show, he got all quiet and acoustic-y, bringing out the harmonium for Nobody's Fault But My Own. Now I want a harmonium. And I'd sing these stretchy phrases and my lovely instrument would drone peacefully. But I'd probably piss off the cat. Or sound like him yowling.

Meanwhile, the other band members sat down at a set table, ate some cookies and almonds and other small foods and then for Clap Hands, they accompanied with dinnerware! Rims of wineglasses, utensils on plates and cups, hands on the table. It was pretty awesome.

Beck. Fun. Ok good. More pics at this dude Danfun's Flickr. I know a guy named Dan Sun, but I'm guessing it's not the same guy.

Afterwards, I met up with my old friend VJ and his friend Andy and the whole gang went to a diner to rehydrate. And I had waffle and strawberries. MmMMMM!! And I talked to it! Yes. Delirium has its moments.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Sick and links. Not sick links.

My day today: 10 cups of tea with lots of lemon and honey, a half a sheet of cold medication, 1928312 hours of sleep, three buffy episodes, really weird dreams, sore arms from yoga on wednesday, most of a new yorker magazine, soup, half a box of tissues, one grumpy cat.

My latest reviews for kevchino here:
bell orchestre - sort of my kind of music. plus members of arcade fire.

veda - not really my kind of music

If you're interested in reading that article about Leon Kass, former chair of the President's Council on Bioethics, I wrote for Accent Magazine awhile ago, I'll send you a text copy. Cuz frankly my dear, the site is rather irritating. Probably because I have an Apple.

Quick useless mentions of what I've been enjoying lately:
Fiona Apple's Extraordinary Machine
Zadie Smith's On Beauty
David Rakoff's Fraud
Getting an inordinate amount of sleep.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

The Life of a Gentlewoman

Well, I'm kind of bummed because my cousin is going to Korea and possibly travelling to Southeast Asia and my aunt, her mother, offered to pay my fare. She would have been my benefactress and I would have been a modern-day Pip Pirrip and danced with chairs and found myself living the life of a gentle-woman and ashamed of my iron-working common father. Oh the musings! They go too far!

Anyways, I'll have to leave a trip to the motherland and the food delights of Asia for a later day. It has been determined by WORK that the timing just won't have it. Cuz you can't take just a few days to go to the other side of the world. And stupid making a magazine means you're on a schedule. Grrr. Forget space travel, let's research some star-trek beam me up. What could go wrong? Oh yeah, what's my nose doing on my shoulder?

ARGH! FREEEeeeeeEEeee.

I thus called my mother to whine about not being able to go. And she's like oh, too bad, don't eat anything. Fifteen years ago, it was, "Oh too bad, go practice piano" and now it's a combination of the following: "Diet.MakeEfforttoLookPretty.Diet.Don'tEatDinner.Your weight and how you're wearing your hair are like a cancer in my soul. I physically feel sick because of your antics."

My antics being not knowing about grad schools or careers or being impeccably put together like those impeccably put together girls and instead spending nights in with netflix and cookies. Sometimes, she makes me want to go running around arm in arm with Drugs Sex and Rock and Roll and Pete Doherty and Kate Moss. Oh but then what would we talk about?

Since I do everything opposite of whatever she tells me, I headed straight to Whole Foods for dinner-inspiration. Dinlightenment! I really wanted to make some sort of peanut sauce for chicken yesterday but I ended up buying a bottle of supposed 'mildly spicy peanut sauce' and it tasted like slightly sweet soy sauce. Dinlightenment was mediocre. This is another reason I should be able to travel to SE Asia. Great essay skillz. In conclusion and all that.

Friday, September 30, 2005

Call of the haters

I've been meaning to update about Thumbsucker but now it's been over two weeks since I saw the movie and my memory has gone all fuzzy and gray like bread mold. Yes, my brain is one big loaf of bread, no wonder, ready to be disposed of within a week, with no hope of saving by the graces of ginko.

Well, first there was the lag time. I have this bad habit of taking a really long time to digest (all this language of food!) a work. And if I hit the writing at the right time, while the proverbial iron is looking for a/c, I get that balance between actually remembering thoughts and feelings 'of the moment' and integrating that with realizations or useful comparisons to other works or larger pictures. Needless to say, I always arrive when the iron's all icy with unwelcoming, the kind of cold that is: "I've been sitting here waiting and dinner's ruined and the kids are hungry and you come in all devoid of memory and feeling and insight. You're sleeping on the couch tonight."

Secondly, I got stuck on a rather moldy subject indeed – hipsters. Why? Why spend time on this? ...a word that is ammunition enough to make certain people run away in the opposite direction towards the Gap. In the right hands, the reaction is something funny, enjoyable, recognizing both the ridiculosity of hipsterdom and paying attention to it. Otherwise, there is this mirror upon mirrors of hating on supposed haters, the term losing whatever small amount of meaning it had in the first place (perhaps none) and failing to describe either or both artists and their work.

I'd been familiar with the term in the realm of clothes, music, ipods, but not really in terms of movies until more recently. I guess there were always those few Wes Anderson movies, Lost in Translation, or anything with Bill Murray, and Donnie Darko (which I have never seen) that get bounced around in "indie" or "hipster" vocabulary courts. Maybe I've just never paid attention to this reaction before and I'm seeing more movies or maybe it's something that was single-handedly born of Zach Braff and Garden State and Natalie Portman freaking out to the Shins.
But now terms like quirky, hipster, indie, emo, arty are sprinkled on just about anything. And then hated upon by the sprinklers. The culprit for this topical foray was not only the reviews of Thumbsucker that almost without fail mentioned one of the above terms, it was this thread. "INDIE TRENDFEST"!!!! it blares.
The more I read, the more I got confused at exactly what was being argued, what was being hated. (Maybe it's that I fundamentally don't understand the hater attitude. Such strong, all-encompassing, all-knowing feelings!!!) There was being mad at being "indie"/purposefully and mad at being "not indie enough"/original. Perhaps I became frustrated with the real lack of concreteness of what it means to be "indie" and the treatment by commenters that it was. I mean the term gets especially mixed up in a field where one needs an incredible amount of money (ring the commercial bell!) to get anything of feature-length done and distributed and then there's that long trip from birth of script to movie theater. It's harder to be trendy when it takes years to step out the door.
(Plus I got riled up by things like spelling errors. Lack of research. Earnest references to "The OC", spelling errors. I am SO cool.)
And, I found it strange that people take issue with yet-anothers. "I'm sick of yet another..." like yet-anothers is a contagious disease, often in response to plots and settings. There are three basic settings: city, country, suburbia. Soooooo, I mean, really, is it ALL THAT STRANGE to have "yet another" movie that takes place in suburbia? I mean, don't some people live in suburbia?? Don't people feel lonely? Don't adolescents feel alienated? Don't they, and everybody else, and Pink (what happened to her?) feel misunderstood?? Oh no, just another movie about somebody being unhappy at a certain point in their lives and how those around them react! Oh no HOW CLICHÉ!!!!
Isn't the art in narrative forms in how they are told?
Now, if the negativity stemmed from something like, "Oh no not another white soul-searching protagonist male" then I'd be all, you go girl, even if you're a boy. I could understand that argument a little more. I don't start out discussing American movies with "God, I'm so sick of white people in movies. It's so CLICHÉ." because in most cases, in discussing the movie itself, as a work, it's useless commentary.
What's weird is that some of these really disdainful reactions arise out of people who haven't even seen the movie and that these terms are bandied uselessly about by reviewers. But then, there's always marketing to say hello to your preconceived notions, as well as the practice of hating by genre, or saying something like, I'm so sick of label-label-label kind of thing but I decided to give it a chance and watch it and it surprised me and I sorta liked it and so at least it's the best of it's label-label-labelBOX.
Marketing is a trickster! I took a look at the movie poster and I kinda went, "Uh-oh," the sorta "quirky" (UNAVOIDABLE!) hipster alarm bell ringing, the joyous strains of Polyphonic Spree wailing, "You are sooooooooo innddiiiiiiiiiieeeeeeeeeee!!!!! Love it! Accept it!" And I begin to think in boxes too. It's human. Though we recoil against them, we like boxes. Hats like boxes. But ... most of all, we like boxes, with things inside. Which you take outside of them. Like Gifts. And puppies.
Summary of too-long-entry: Stop using useless labels to justify or explain why you like or don't like a movie. I guess it is useful for other things, but it does not help me. Please send me gifts. Not necessarily puppies.
And yes, I will talk about the actual movie. This was all a very bad tangent-dream, life is but a.

Monday, September 26, 2005

food memememememe

Well, I've been tagged for a food and wine meme by Roboppy.

This fact alone, I must admit, caused me a couple minutes of cloudy thinking. It should be known that sometimes my brain likes to drive like a grandma... on a sunday... on nyquil. I've had similar speeds of processing happen with understanding things like bittorrents, movable type, my math class senior year called 'super-calc', my future, and finally, what exactly a MEME is. It sounds vaguely amoebic and if pronounced MIMI, it would be a small shapeless selfish organism, very dangerous and very blobby which we would all get vaccinations for, along with, say it with me - measles mumps rubella!

But it's not. And I've basically got the gist of it. Answer the question and pass it around. (See? Kind of like a disease.) So I will address the question at hand, originally posed by basicjuice to recall the best bottle/glass of wine sampled over the past 30 days and for foodies to say what is the best, wine-friendliest dish tasted.

This whole issue is made easy by the fact that I am poor. While I love food and enjoy a nice wine (still learning on that end), I mostly eat and drink rather simply. Luckily the past month was one where I bought a bottle of wine. One day I stopped by 67 Wine and liquor because oh I dunno – sometimes you just want some wine. Inspired by a lovely glass in Rome from a couple months ago, I originally stepped in the door to find an Italian red, a Sangiovese. But when the wine guy (they're very nice and knowledgeable @ 67wine) who was helping some other dude that was hanging around the squishy corner of Italian reds was in the midst of recommending trying a Montepulciano d'Abruzzo, I stepped two inches to the left and slightly changed course. Helpful Wine Guy said, "Try it! It's smoother than the Sangiovese," though in a sort of distinguished 'I drink wine all the time' kind of way. But sure, I'm all for the smooth, and well... the bottle was under $10. Sign me up! I walked out the door with Caleo's 2003 Montepulciano d'Abruzzo.
My palate is nowhere near sophisticated enough to be able to find seemingly impossible (to me) hints of strawberries, tobacco, grass, when 'hipster' will disappear from the collective lexicon. But I did like it a lot, especially for the cost. It was dry, yet round and full, perhaps a bit ragged and sharp on the edges. I might as well paint you an abstract expressionist work (it will be titled Amoebic Meme #2!!!!) because I don't know how to describe wine and that last sentence was full of inconsistencies. I'm still under a three tier evaluation system: like, dislike, spit out.
As a non-topic-specific blog, I'll just go ahead and answer the food part as well, another easy one because what's more wine-friendly than when wine is an ingredient? The wine made friends with a pasta I made that lasted a week, which is what happens when you're cooking for one. The food gets saltier along with the tears. Kidddinggggg. Anyways, basically when it comes to pasta, I just throw a bunch of stuff together. Ground meat was browned with onions and seasoned with salt, pepper, oregano. Tomatoes were cooked in olive oil and garlic, salt and red pepper to spice it up (though I hear the Italians don't cook dishes with onions AND garlic) until they were mushy. Deglazed the meat pan with some of the Montepulciano and put everything in one pot and put a bit more wine during the simmer because I got a little bored. And that was that.
Time to pass the baton to Mishmosh because she's DUE FOR AN UPDATE and errrmmmm Amateur Gourmet, because I'm not too familiar with the food-blogging community and I really like his writing.

Friday, September 23, 2005

italy is illuminated

itallight.jpg


alley in Trastevere



Here are a few photos from Rome (I'm sorry I never finished those travelogues) to bid you good weekend and to remind me to look to the light. I could make an Engrish joke here about crossing traffic, but I guess I just did.

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ceiling of church near Termini


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Pantheon


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We managed to be in Rome on their national holiday, Festa della Repubblica, which celebrates the establishment of the republican democracy of Italy. Thus, fireworks.


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San Pietro

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Imaginary Friends

Being an only child is a lonely time.

Sure I missed out on all those sibling rivalries and jealousies and fights and what I imagine to be high drama of painting lines down the wall and the floor to separate Your side and My side, but I think I got that last image from reading Babysitter Club books or something. I never had hand-me-downs, or middle child syndrome, or somebody farting on me as a retaliatory act. Instead, I received the laser-beam attention of a crazed korean mother on the loose and lots of instrument and math lessons. I never had a partner in crime, a sibling shoulder to lean on, and rebelled with silent acts like carving the words "I HATE CELLO" on yes, the bottom of my cello. Real wild. (Well,now cello is one of my favorite sounds. Thanks Ma!)

So I would think that I would be one of those kids who had an imaginary friend or two or three. We'd shoot the shit and then go on adventures and climb trees or something wholesome and naturey like that. But I never really did have any specific imaginary friends. Certainly, I spent a large portion of my childhood in my imagination and I assigned life to many a stuffed animals. Instead, I think I created imaginary worlds, whole scenarios, instead of one special person or animal who was constantly hanging around.

But coming out of that lonely only child time, I can totally see the appeal of having one. And I wouldn't mind having an imaginary friend now and again, while I'm rattling around everyday, a little echo-ey.

I think everybody can identify with having imaginary friends. Esopus Magazine is a bi-yearly artsy magazine that also comes with a CD and for their 4th issue, they asked subscribers to submit descriptions of their childhood imaginary friends. Thirteen of these were used by musicians including Kimya Dawson and Avey Tare (from Animal Collective) to make songs. And when I first heard "Lisa" by a lovely Chapel Hill (yay) band called Prayers and Tears of Arthur Digby Sellers a couple times on KEXP, it tugged the heartstrings, gave them a thrum.

I found the song again via Central Village. For a few days, here it is: Lisa with lyrics after the break. Lisa is an imaginary friend, who like so many, have been abandoned, and she rattles around the walls and halls. And if I ever meet her, I will ask her, "Hello Lisa. How are you feeling?"

There’s nothing I could call this
No architecture for the order of things
When I sat and watched you sleeping
Before the trucks arrive, boxed up your better life
I wrote you letters for awhile
Left to haunt this sad estate
In hollow walls and empty halls but all I saw was
Some doll that you’d abandoned
So I crawled inside where the stitching held me tight
And hoped that you’d come back to find me some time.
I hope that you’ll forgive me for being so severe
Your proximity was clouding my account of what was real here
You’re eight years old I’m stuck inside the wall
you always talk but never hold me and I wish that you would ask me how I’m feeling
there’s so much I want to tell you about the way I’m disappearing
and so many years have passed since that
I left the house I left the map to my new wall
You must have never found it
And I heard that you got married
And I hope that she helps you fall asleep these days
Cuz I knew the ways
When you were eight
You’re not what I imagined you’d become when we were younger
But I’m still in love with that one
But I’ve since found your parents’ house
And lived inside the wall
But you don’t ask about me when you call

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Pamplemousse followed by French Laughter.

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This is a picture of champagne grapes. I like to pull them all off of the stem while washing them into a cereal bowl and then eat them with a spoon. If I were in a particularly ghoulish mood, I would pretend they were eyeballs. Really small eyeballs. Just kiddddinggggg. Champagne grapes, according to this grapelover are Black Corinth or Zante grapes, a variety from Greece. They're small and sweet and pretty. If you eat them off the stem, instead of my cereal-eyeball method, they make you feel like you are in ancient Rome, being epic and ancient and errr. Roman.

grapes.jpg


Here's another picture with a regular-sized nectarine so you get the size thing.

Grapes or no, I have been proved to be prone (bad songtitle, proved to be prone) to more 'high-end' foodstuffs, mainly from one of many on list of tragic flaws - Whole Foods. I was relatively ignorant of this fact until my roommate stopped me one day to ask, "Is that your chocolate pudding in the fridge?"

I nodded. Pudding=Good. Chocolate Pudding=Great. FOODMATH!

She continued,"Well I figured it was Andrew's (ex-roommate). Cuz it's SwissMiss."

Well, all the better isn't it? Who the hell wants fancy pudding?

Anyhow, it's also now become proven that Mikhail the Cat is also a food snob. Nancy and I both tend to buy good cheeses. Mikhail also loves cheese. Our newish roommate Charles likes eating grilled cheese for meals and once offered Mikhail some of the sandwich. Mikhail turned up his pink nose and walked away with fluffy tail turned high. "Kraft singles are just so bourgeois," he rumbled.

As Stephanie from Full House says, How Rude!

On Saturday night, I attended a "Celebration of the Paris Review," a sort of Wheee for the new editor/new design/and all that in the lovely Celeste Bartos Forum space, as part of a great series, Live from the NYPL.

The Hungry March Band started things off with a bang, with hoops-a-throwing and tiny saxophones-a-playing, and trumpets blazing and songs from crazy Yugoslavian movies. I'm totally having them play at my sweet sixteen going on sweet twenty-four.

Philip Gourevitch talked to the fabulous Miranda July and the ubiquitous Salman Rushdie. Miranda July read a beautiful story called Birthmark that's included in The Paris Review Book of People with Problems which I'm thoroughly wrapping myself up in, you know, non-literally (or as a metaphor, does it means literally still works?). I've been skipping around and it's got some wonderfully quiet and wistful/poignant almost to the point of ruthless stories. It's really light years, the difference between hearing a story read by a skillful reader and reading it on the page. July brought her text to such life with all of its edged humor and her gift for dialogue and inner thought processes that I noticed that I had to slow myself down with the book to catch the same sort of subtleties. I guess I've become a skimmer. Boo.

Anyways, Miranda July was the first half of the program and there was some Q&A with the audience. At one point, an old lady stood up, presumably to ask a question, and she sorta screeched out,"WHERE'S SALMAN RUSHDIE??" to the collective horror of everybody else in the room. Comments throughout the evening after that incident in support of July, who for about one second looked as if she were punched in the stomach, were made profusely by later questioners, audience members, and the host. Rushdie at the podium in the second half singled the old lady out, calling her a philistine and decried her behavior and there was much applause. He went on to read a bit from his new novel Shalimar the Clown and continued to be an entertaining, interesting, if slightly self-aggrandizing (hey, he's Salman Rushdie) interview subject.

I got my book signed by Miranda July because yknow, I liked her movie an awful lot and I wanted to say "Hello, I liked your movie an awful lot." Other fans had brought her shirts, cds, lovelier comments. Another old person just cut in line to speak to her. When I went home, I saw that the signature after "For Janet" was two squigglies. It could have been anything. I don't know why, but that made me a tiny bit sad but it's okay.

Here's a picture of the whole crew, brass band and all, that I found on Flickr.

tv alla meat sauce

If I remember correctly, I have a friend who used to make excel spreadsheets to sort out all the new fall TV line-ups. Cuz you know, it gets confusing. I thought of him yesterday as my roommate exclaimed, "It's premiere week!" in the ta-da!! sparkler tone of voice.

Anyways, I watched some new tv yesterday while my roommate was flipping around on the tv and her cat was outstretching his don juan paw because he wanted the meat sauce on my pasta.

Report: Arrested Development is still perhaps the funniest thing on tv - and Kitchen Confidential shows some promise. It sorta felt like they were trying too hard at times. Too wild! Too stock character! Too sappy! but it was entertaining enough, though give me the real Tony Bourdain on the Travel Channel anyday, meaning give me cable. I was pleasantly surprised to find John Cho on the cast (from Harold & Kumar) with or without all-purpose asian accent, I couldn't really tell. And Xander is the pastry chef! He has no real name. He is Xander. And Willow is on that other sitcom on CBS. I miss Buffy.

This entry: File under YAWN.

New ben&jerry's pint: Magic Brownies

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Throwing Cares away Carelessly, like Flotsam and Jetsam

Well, now I've discovered two things never to name sibling babies and pets - Flotsam and Jetsam. Even if you call 'em, Flo and Jet, it'd still be sort of sad and cruel - (you two aren't quite necessary!!). But a band named Flotsam!Jetsam!, that's entirely possible, because how many times have there been when you just wanted to throw some music, some band, some boring thing overboard into the choppy seas of nothingness?? It's a necessary survival tactic, even if it only in your head. Try it with your next annoying conversationalist.

Apologies for being gone for so long.

What's been going on? you ask solicitously.
I ask in return, Why is the checklist questions for depression so vague?

I believe a bit in coincidence, of some unconscious fate manifesting itself in signs other than those on bright yellow boards and hammers to the head. I imagine this happens often but I actually got a spam that wormed its way through the filter at my work e-mail. It was an ad for depression medication and listed these questions. This and that. And I was voting the straight ticket yesyesyesyesyesyes! And then I checked on the zoloft site (clinical research skills! airtight!) and they had similar questions and similar tickets. So, I gave up and raided the fridge for some ben&jerry's.

This is mostly what my past few weeks have been: Giving up. Raiding fridge.

Even when I complain, whine, ok shut up already, on this scrawl-site of mine, if it's updated regularly, it's usually a sign that I'm doing relatively okay. When I'm not, I'm either super-busy, or exploring the lower depths of the inverted roller-coaster that my mental health seems to be taking more and more these days. The lows get wildly lower, the highs are the breathers. And gravity's not quite doing its job.

The words aren't coming out. The thoughts aren't coming out. And I'm filled with a whole lot of "I don't care" sentiment, bleeding all over my psyche like some ugly oil spot, until you can see clear-through; what if there's nothing there? From time to time, I try and eat fruit, drink tea, to feel cleaner, clear-headed-er. And then I eat some awful take-out. Another small indicator: voracious hunger but no concern for what's going in mouth.

I haven't been holed up in my room, rocking in the corner. I've made efforts to go out and be busy and work has been busy and writing assignments have been piling up. I'm Hercules for going to work at all. Movies sometimes take me out. Dooce sometimes takes me out. I resist the urge to throw up at every other post about CMJ or self-aggrandizing preening comments that I happen upon. I resolve to stop reading music blogs. I wallow in short stories and sad music. I glare at people in the subway, on the sidewalk. Two strangers in the past week have told me to smile.

I've been seeing and talking to a good number of friends. Things seem to be proceeding with or without me. Life resembles the usual stuff in almost every aspect. But something's always thrumming in the background, that I should be holed up in my room because it's so goddamn tiring. I can't find Joy without Melancholy. Why is everything so tiring? And I've been waiting for the green light to pop up amidst the oil and say, OK! Turn the corner! But it's been on perpetual yellow. Nobody likes yellow lights!!! What are you supposed to do??! Slow down? Speed up?? I CAN'T TELL.

There's a quote that is supposedly from Maya Angelou which I despise. It goes something like, "If you don't like it change it. If you can't change it, change your attitude. Don't complain." ...Gross. I will complain all the live long day, thank you very much. I feel like giving up and complaining over and over and over again. But since the psychological immune system isn't kicking in at all, it looks like I'll have to take the damn page out of the stalwart Angelou, if those are indeed her smarmy words.

I had a dream last night that I travelled through time - to past or future, I don't know. Somebody who looked like my freshman sleepwalking roommate woke up from her nap, was peacefully reading a book, and all of a sudden, totally stabbed my thigh with a knife. WTF???

Look, I'm collecting my efforts and I'm going to try again. I'm going to avoid more stabbing. I'm going to imagine throwing this feeling off my homely raft. We'll see.

Friday, September 02, 2005

Kanye Rips Bush

AP Reports, Kanye West Rips Bush During NBC Concert: "A Concert for Hurricane Relief," a heartfelt and dignified benefit aired on NBC and other networks Friday night, took an unexpected turn thanks to the outspoken rapper Kanye West.

Appearing two-thirds through the program, he claimed "George Bush doesn't care about black people" and said America is set up "to help the poor, the black people, the less well-off as slow as possible."


Stream clip.

Popwherry has links to reactions.

(Links via stereogum)

Walking through central park

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"Well, fall must be around the corner," Flower said.
"Oh, isn't it horrible?!" whispered Small Flower a bit furiously, seeing her friends heads droopy with weariness, with the heaviness of late August air.
And the water sat relentlessly still and grass rustled this is life.

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

junebug

Watched Phil Morrison's Junebug last week. As my roommate referred to it after I recommended it, "Oh, that South thing movie?"

It's an eloquent household here folks. We hold competitions. The awkwardly worded loser takes out the smelly garbage.

Anyhow, yes it's about the south in that it's set in North Carolina (filmed in Winston-Salem). I'm sorta glad that the film was a small gem in my movie tiara. Oh, you know you want a tiara too, even you boyz. Even though I could hardly call going to college in Durham, NC getting the whole or real sense of that state, or the South for that matter, like some, I have that peculiar sort of pride in those places you bestow the title of home. And Junebug is basically about home – and the inertia, rivalry, hopes, gaps found in families. It's a very quiet film, done with such fine acting of complex, dimensional characters and understated humor, treating the old, tired American North-South (sigh, yes, blue-red) opposition with subtlety that I really do hope it gets a wider release than it seems to have now.

The story: Madeleine is trying to get an outsider artist from rural North Carolina to sign up for her gallery in Chicago. George, her husband, happens to have grown up near by so they decide to take the trip and Madeleine will meet George's family for the first time, since they got married right-hot-quick, faster than cracked out bunnies. Madeleine is urban, sophisticated, tall, thin, smart – if she had been cattier and didn't have a British accent, she would've fit right in with the sex and the city girls. And so, the play begins when she meets the in-laws and co.
The whole outsider art aspect works in a broader sense as well, which is kind of neat. Neat as in neat-o! I like! and Neat, a bit purposeful, doilies straight, coffee-table dusted, which isn't necessarily a fault. Not only is Madeleine an outsider into this family, every character is an outsider, alone in some sense. It's seldom that these family members get through to each other or to the heart of matters, while they very obviously love each other. And that is what is so heart-breaking and heart-warming at the same time. You wonder whether this family will crumble from the cracks after the film finishes, or will keep on, keep on, in spite of everything - that thin line where a lot of families teeter.
So this isn't just a movie about the South Thing! These people in North Carolina are real people, kinda like us and our own. Gah, it sounds so simplistic that way, but Morrison succeeds so well in not creating caricatures as well as not beating us over the head with a barbequed pork chop that we.are.just.like.them! Mmmm mesquite! We are and we aren't. They each have good and bad characteristics, are not entirely likable, and one can't really identify with a single person all the way through the piece. It almost doesn't matter Where ths movie is taking place. Complexity, what a lightbulb of an approach! So basically I took two paragraphs to say that the characters and relationships are believable and consistent, shown through third-person multiple views.
Amy Adams is SO great in the role of Ashley that you can't help your heart from breaking open from your rib cage and rushing out to her. She is the pregnant wife of Johnny, George's younger, sullen brother w/pent-up anger/frustration/issues, and she is open, wise, excitable, wild as a child in demeanor, and the only one to welcome Madeleine, treating her like a diva with open admiration, bombarding her with questions and doing her nails cinnamon fizz. She too has her faults and how much puppy energy can one handle at once? But still, Ashley is so naturally kind and sincere and bright, not a shred of dour irony about her, and that all sounds so ridiculously unreal and gag gag, but look, there's my heart, still running on it's ventricley legs out to her, with not a glance back at dour sour me.
Ashley possesses a faith and practices the kind of Christian love that I imagine is our greatest capacity as humans no matter what the religion is called, a characteristic of belief to be taken not at all as any sort of weakness or stupidity. Ashley holds that family together. I liked this treatment of religion here, not extreme, or overblown, or tongue stuck out at, as in that rather hilarious (to me) scene in I Heart Huckabees at the dinnertable with the Sudanese guy and his adopted family.
I could see how some people would think this movie was boring but boo on them. It's slowish, though with a good pace and minimalistic sound (and orig. soundtrack by yo la tengo!). There are shots of empty rooms of the house which seem to be waiting for something and landscapes, giving us a sense of place. There is a good couple minutes of the dad setting up the air mattress. All you can hear is the air hissing and the air mattress sort of coming alive, and it's all mildly humorous. Because, really, air mattresses are kind of funny when you think about them. There were several laugh out loud moments and they usually involved Ashley. And there was this one scene which still makes me giggle. Madeleine has told her mother-in-law, Peg, the name of the kooky outsider artist, David Wark. Except it comes out sort of like "Walk" due to the British accent. Peg sort of looks at her questioningly and repeats, rolling "Waawwolk?" around. Well there I go again making funny things unfunny.
The underdevelopment of George's character, namely, is frustrating and so is the played up eccentricity of Wark. Picking small bones. They're the remnants of my ribcage.
At one point, Ashley tells Johnny after one of his angry episodes: "God loves you just the way you are, but too much to let you stay that way." The audience at the Angelika sort of burst out in gentle laughter; I thought it was the most poignant thing out of the whole movie. What a struggle we have a-foot here; we are who we are, but we hope to change for the better.
Trailer and Official Site
Interview with Phil Morrison on WNYC.