Monday, July 30, 2007

1. I got in the shower with my glasses on this weekend. This indicates...something.

2. Do you think perhaps that in the "Gotta Dance" sequence of Singin in the Rain--when GK is knocking on doors--it is significant that he finally gets a response--the third time--when he...sets down his suitcase? Eh? Eh? There's a little convincing, Ohprah-y interpretation for ye. There is always something new when I watch that movie. This time, among others: 1) I officially love Cyd Charisse's Green Outfit, despite the ways it's dated badly in its conception, including the fringe--I am newly in love with the armbands and 2) I must someday put out a beat-box version of just the tap in the "Singin in the Rain" sequence. It's SO hooky and syncopated. As hooky and recognizable as the song itself, with that huge down beat.

3. Finally saw The History Boys this weekend. Moments of sheer, agile brilliance, and I thoroughly enjoyed the conflicts it set in motion, even the more obvious (?) boying one. Ehhh...I dunno, it was a little less convincing than the battle for the life of the mind going on, but somehow--this is what seemed different than many contemporary films--it seemed genuinely less important than the other conflict, rather than badly realized. Not sure though. And the ending...such an unnecessary frame. Hate sappy unnecessary nostalgic narrative frames. I call this the Cinema Paradiso phenomenon.

But there were moments that stirred me thoroughly, including (this is very unflattering) being very excited to immediately recognize "MCMXIV," even though it's *not* one of my favorite Larkin poems, or all the movie scenes (I am such a middle-class English gay man), and I thought the central big professor/new professor conflict...was bizarrely relevant to my life last week, among other pleasures.

4. I fluffed my quotation list a little bit again this weekend. I have pondered many times posting it here, but there really is no point/no room. And I am constantly adding to it--for almost ten years now. Suffice it to say, it's what I'd save if there was a fire in my brain in the middle of the night and I had to hurriedly pack and get out.
Corrrrrrrrrrrr blimey, Ingmar Bergman died. It was a combination of IB and The Bicycle Thief that got me more involved with film in college, that made me realize I could be. Which sounds awfully IB. And obvious.

I shall be faithful for at least seven eternities of pleasure, eighteen false smiles, and fifty-seven tender whisperings without meaning. I shall remain faithful until the great yawn do us part. In short, I shall remain faithful in my own way.
Best T&D routines:

* Oscar Tango
* In Trutina
* Rumba at 94 Olympics
* Bach pieces for Yo-Yo Ma, although not as filmed for the release
* Take Five
* Encounter
* Bridge Over Troubled Water (in this case music pushes it but choreography is great...all their S&G bits have this problem)
* Bolero

What? You asked.

Friday, July 27, 2007

There are two shows on WE (Women's Entertainment Network) about women getting married: Bridezillas and Platinum Weddings. They are often aired one right after the other. The first one is all about the hysterical hilariousness when brides-to-be lose their shit onscreen dealing with caterers, florists, family, grooms. The contrast of the pretty sweet bridal shell and the screaming bitch underneath. The second show...lots of string background music, graphics showing pricing/costs, calmer brides and lots of wedding planners. Fuller focus on the parents behind it all and a lot of blah-blah cliches about happily ever after. The patter on Bridezillas...they're not sure what to wish for. It is really hard not to get the feeling that we're just talkin twixt the two about class. Class and/or income. Those with the ability to hire someone to be stressed out for them and those without. It's a little ruthless. Especially as they love the meltdowns on Bridezillas.

He/she who edits the video holds the key to the universe.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

What did Seth MacFarlane's sister (if he had one) do to him when he was a kid to ever deserve what Meg gets? It's relentless.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Dan Savage said it best years ago, drunk on a stage in Madison, WI, at a conference with a bunch of izaltizerniza-jizournizalizists: Best name for a paper than kinda makes you think about pooping. Or taking a dump (I forget his exact words). We'll see. Or...we already kinda are.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

My mother told me, hilariously, that their priest preached a confused sermon about Hairy Kotter yesterday. Good and evil and Muggles (?) and all its parallels to the Mary Magdalene and something. Reminded me thoroughly of--what else?--dear self-centered Archdeacon Hoccleve preaching from the text of Young's "Night Thoughts" in Some Tame Gazelle. Scandale!

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Tammy Faye has died. That makes me sad. I hope she gets the biggest, loudest, gaudiest, queerest, happiest funeral ever.

I admire how she came to open up in later years and had such a hardcore queer following that she loved. It was so inevitable. Sad it took so long to happen.

As I grow older I'm coming to admire those women who die with their false eyelashes on, as it were: wigs big and fluffy, pushing the edges of the beauty ideal hard til the very end. There is a kind of perverse tenacity evident in this that I admire, as different as it is from the model I grew up with.

I dun't know how I'd feel if I had a grandparent who'd given $ to the PTL and never gotten it back, but I had come to like her and her open heart in recent years. Anybody who could be chummy with Ron Jeremy and not have to let go of/put on any fake campiness to do so must have some innate sweetness. And that "lay him down" moment on the show (see link) was bizarrely moving...enough to make me like her, right there.
1. Somebody gave me a link to this great comprehensive site that ranks sunscreens based on both efficacy and health risks. You can rank, sort the huge list with tons of brand names. Very helpful!
2. I think the doofus, emasculated persona of Kevin James (sharpened in recent flix like Hitch) is supposed to help us buy the really backwards fag jokes of Chuck & Larry. However, if you find the man deathly hot, this doesn't work. Kevin James is really they think we miss this because he's fat? People are schtoopid.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Forest Whitaker: still--I think--underrated as an actor. Is it possible to say that even now? Somehow, yes. I thought Waitin to Exhale and Hope Floats sucked sucks, but the first half of The Crying Game is the most underrated half a movie in history! (Who cares about the wang.)

I saw Ocean's Thirteen yesterday, on the run from the vagaries of the Walgreen's presciption counter, is what made me think of this; they showed the preview for Vantage Point--

--PLEASE stop naming movies after easily-forgettable idioms, please. Harder to remember, not easier. HARDER. And 10,000 more meaningless. Stupid. Not worthy of the $150 million attached to it. Throw a proper noun in there. You can do it. Come up with a memorable title. As it was it made the preview look like a parody, a fake, something from The Player and that's an out-of-date ref but it's still true. God, I should be running a studio--

--and even in the preview he jumped off the screen. FW's a good actor.

Ocean's Thirteen? Meh. It's filled with a lot of kind of casual sexism I didn't really appreciate. And without a very real sense of place...I dunno. I've never seen a movie with such a barrage of mise-en-scene, thing after thing after room after locale, but the fake hotel in the center...made it in the end slide meaninglessly toward a Die Hard/Spiderman kind of feel. All the pretty boys, who were looking a little squidgy to be honest, didn't compensate.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Best movie candy?

(Finally realized this.) It's definitely Goldberg's Peanut Chews. Right confluence of textures. They'd be really perfect if they actually tasted a lil better, but they are empirically the Best Candy.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Michael Tolliver Lives

What did I think?

I thought at first that Michael Tolliver Lives was the cleffy cleffiest Roman a clef I had ever read, and what, quite, was the point. (I kept hearing in my head--meanly--Herb Caen's description of Armistead Maupin as "part-time writer and a full-time personality.") The book is, especially at the beginning, one long apologia for Maupin's--Michael's--life with his much younger husband. Not only that, it's written in the first person, rather than as the Narrator to End All Narrators, pulling strings, making people dance, as Maupin did in the first books. It's not a huge surprise, though--Sure of You looks very much in retrospect like a transition from those early books to this one. Not-quite-first-person.

So I found it a little hard-going, if interesting (rabid fandom) at first. The book had Maupinesque observation, but not the gleeful potting and omniscience and complete ruthlessness about and attention to EVERYBODY, every class/gender/orientation, whatever. It feels like there's just the thinnest tissue between "Michael" and Maupin in this book, to the point where you sometimes are surprised when Michael talks about his gardening career and not his writing.

However--HOWEVER. This book gains momentum. Some of the old magic comes back, much in the form of Michael's brother--

NOTE: I have looked and looked; I can't remember. Did Michael ever mention this brother before? Is he the "Bubba" in "Dear Mama"? Irwin works pretty well as a character, but I did feel kinda as if he were made up for the story...anyhow--

--and plotting relating to the contrast/connection with Michael and this bible-beatin' brother, also in the form of a hairdresser/stripper Patreese tending to his ailing mother (who also provides a more vivid realization of the concept--found in Maupin's other books too--of the fact that human sweetness and generosity fuel three-ways, not just horniness).

More than that, Maupin sets up a late in life, what-would-you-do conflict regarding his mother and Anna that takes balls, literary balls. And that ruthless Maupin eye. He (to quote Dorothy Sayers) "pins the argumentum ad hominem with a kind of relish" in this situation, leaving no room to squiggle out. I'm not entirely sure how I feel about his character's decision in the end, but I admire Maupin very much for creating the situation.

And the construct provides the chance for a little understated but effective reunion and SF magic realism at the end. I could have used a little more Brian, overall, but I was happy--and bawling my head off--when I finished the book. So I guess it worked. Maybe Maupin makes things look too easy sometimes--I should reread this book when I wasn't so hyper about it--but for now: a teary-eyed thumbs up.
1) That thunderstorm on Monday saved me from craven homicidal impulses! It was a beautiful storm.

2) By the you want to know what I've been doing since late April? And when I say "doing," I mean...95% of my activities. This. Just givin it a lil shout-out (see image right).

3. From the plus ca change category: Does not Rizachael Rizay's new 30 Minute set remind you tremendously of the set for The Romagnoli's Table? Remember? In da 70s? WGBH? The orange? The rounded-off edges of the cubicle-y backset? Am I getting it confused with an earlier Jacques set or something? All I know is that I had a jolt of recognition.

Related/tangent: One thing I grateful to my parents for: giving me some vague sense of the food fads of the 70s/80s. A lot of people seem to think that everything in the last five years sprang full-born into public consciousness, but it's definitely one of a set of waves, and it can be helpful to be in touch with that. Otto & Anna and food co-ops and the Arrival of the Cuisinart...blah blah. My aunt even gave me the Foodie Handbook in college, the one that was written when it was still a bad word. She was always perspicacious, though.

4. Sexy me! Can't stop watching. They are so TIGHT.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

I get overly-superstitious about bad news addin up on the Yahoo feeds, but seriously, yuck: "U.S. intelligence analysts have concluded al-Qaida has rebuilt its operating capability to a level not seen since just before the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks" and...Ladybird dead.

Monday, July 09, 2007

old news

Been much discussed already, I'm sure, but the Simpsons movie website rocks. The avatar creator is esp. brill!


It looks like a donut (right), but I had leftover Wacky Cake batter today, so I threw it in these ancient baba molds I've had forever and don't think I've used and...voila! What do you know. They turned out great, with slight crispiness on the top/sides. I bought the molds at a garage sale, inspired in part with a childhood love of the French Chef episode in which Julia makes babas au rhum. Always kinda fascinated with them, but it's not like I love cakes soaked in booze. In fact, I kinda hate that. I have always loved special specific desserts, though. With their own names. Like pavlovas...babas...

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Good: Having a stache of thick cut bacon planks in your freezer. You can saw off bits as necessary--tiny, if so desired--without thawing, because of fat content, not have to cook an entire package and spend all that time separating gluey strips of bacon. So if you just want a little handful to flavor a soup you can render some cross-cut lardons and use as desired.

Bad: Orzo looks cute, and is delicious, and is all fun and tiny and comforting, but that stuff is pernicious. It's impossible to completely get out of the strainer, due to the way the "grains" align and meld, and the bits that stick to the cooking pot, because of the starch/surface area ratio, are stuck for eternity. Like cement. They are some hostile little ovoids. But oh how good with butter and pepper.
I'm fairly sure the Kubler-Ross stages of grief apply to housekeeping.
The Lizongoria/Pizarker wedding: why...are people (American TV stars) wearing strapless evening gowns to an afternoon wedding? What happened to day wedding wear? Looks tacky as hell to me, but maybe I'm missin something.

So in love:
I am now the proud owner of the world's cheapest digital camera. My favorite part of the instructions? "The self-timer is used in situations where the photographer is included in the shot. When photographer is away from the camera, use a tripod to prevent camera fall." Ahhh...gravity. Such a bitch.

I've gotten far enough familiarizing myself with it to be the proud owner of many photos of the back of my cat as she walks away. But at least I now have a few photos of Ursula, whose fur is so dark and minky that she doesn't photograph at all usually. It's like trying to photograph a wet harbor seal. Her eyes aren't always this closed, it's the camera flash. Yeah...I'm posting cat pix.

Monday, July 02, 2007

E! last week was featuring segments titled "Paris Freedom Watch"...I don't want to be smug--my generation is not perfect--but I remember when that phrase was reserved when I was younger for situations like (for instance) Nelson Mandela's. I mean...yungh.

Beverly Sills died at 78 today.