Funnest dilettante-in' parlor game ever (this is very Late, these perambulations): guessing what Daniel Barenboim would play at his last concert. I have to admit to getting verklempt even imagining what it would have been like to hear Beethoven's Ninth in that context. The impression you get about his leaving--not so much from all the current sentimentality, but from when it was first announced--is that he's just not up to the conjoined American tasks of artmaking and fundraising and it'll be a relief to get back to state-funded art and smoking his Galoises standing outside a pub in London with his collar up talking about Free Love no, that's very Hilary & Jackie and not actually true and actually I have no idea what he'll be doing or where he'll even be living, but still there's some truth in that he doesn't wanna hang around to kiss McCormick/Blair tushies or whatever. Skip thinks he'll get stuck making shitty government-sponsored art for bridge-openings and regret it, but I think DB's out of that class in most ways. All I know is: 1) I have been in this city a LONG time, to have seen out both Solti and now Barenboim, fifteen years later 2) the CSO is one of this city's great, world-class babies and I have both every cliched chauvinistic feeling about wanting it to only get better and an enormous amount of pride in where it's come to the last fifteen years and 3) there is no conductor on earth who is immune to the effects of the Barenboim syndrome: somewhat classically unattractive men (short, baldy, etc.) who become yum through sheer musical magnetism.
I saw Something New as my neXt NetfliX...eh. Very timid, very cautious, notable mostly for flipping the flimsy movie romance, particularly the interracial movie romance, around completely to where The White Guy is a combination of The Girl + Sidney Poitier in Guess Who's Coming to Dinner?. Skip in her great take says he's emasculated, and he basically is...he's connected to every domestic task, doesn't fight for himself, and when Kenya goes running back to Him at the end of the movie you realize we don't even know where he lives we're so uninterested in him except as he relates to Her life. Very arm candy. (I love Sanaa Lathan...I wish this movie weren't so limp and obvious.) The thing is, she's emasculated (whatever the female is that we're always groping for) too. Not in her Career Woman shell, but in that she's such a shallow character that all her walls are beige, and He's the one who opens her up to color. How tired is that. This person who is supposed to be so smart just finds the intelligence and energy to reject how fussy a cotillion is when she's 30+ for our stirring denouement. I really wanted to see this movie--it looked fluffy but good--but as per uzh all the good stuff was in the promo. Made a great promo. P.S. I just remembered what really cheesed me off about this movie: the idea that *he*'s the one who convinces Sanaa--Kenya--to Go Natural with her hair (!). Good golly. Feels roundaboutly racist to me in its cliche. Well, anyhow.
I have been watching The Little Zoo That Could on Animal Planet rather too much in recent weeks. It's all about a zoo on the Alabama Gulf Coast hit hard by the hurricanes and how they try to rebuild: the structure of the show is very manufactured, and the voiceovers really repetitious. Very True Hollywood Story with breathless 5 minute breaks for commercials. However...it's hard not to constantly notice what an incredibly good setting for melodrama a zoo is. You always have an animal getting sick, being wrenched from its mother, being born, fighting for its life, fighting others, people crying, people laughing, whatever you want. Built-in drama-fest. Excise all the footage of animals pooping (check), flinging feces at children (check) or other disgusting activities (check), not to mention all the hours of zookeepers raking out pens, and you're all set--they can even leave in a lot of the physical drama (tranquilizing tigers with dart guns) and have it be halfway realistic. Hard not to get sucked in. And the show is really making me love ring-tailed lemurs even more than I did, with their whole repertoire of gravity-free and sometimes very human postures. I love when they sit on their haunches like a little throne or a tired old man and survey life.
Josh Max, well-known in the size-acceptance community, has a great, really nicely-written article at Salon about his life as a guy who loves fat women. It's wonderful, very lucid. I don't know if that direct link will work, or if you'll have to stare helplessly at a Salon ad to make it show up, but it was in Thursday's Salon if you need to backtrack. Thanks to JL for the link! She's the one that spawned the Jack Kerouac idiocy, god bless her.
*Speaking of fat chicks in the media, BET had this really inane (read: promotional) countdown show of the top 12 moments on the BET Awards show, but I was still breathlessly clasping my paws together throughout (inanely) hoping for Mo'Nique's dance to be #1 and it was! Glory be. Her dance is still one of the most amazing fat girl things I've ever seen on TV, especially when surprised with it cold for the first time. I love her for flying the fat flag high and putting her money where her mouth is. And I love their dresses. I love their dance! Not to mention those 30 seconds are the only 30 seconds of any Beyonce song I like--I like the bass and the Chi-Lites sample, 'scuse me but I just do.