Sunday, March 29, 2009

How will you celebrate?

Why, Doris Day Day, of course (her birthday is April 3). That's less than a week to prepare!

How to mark the occasion... Watch trailers for Doris movies on (See below.) Watch TCM on April 3 (The Man Who Knew Too Much, It Happened to Jane) or April 5 (the less often-seen April in Paris, to see how Ray Bolger apparently tried to hog his scenes with her--at least according to her autobiography)? Get in a fight with that one more person who argues reflexively Doris was a professional virgin? Customize a lil Doris film festival? (Just Ross Hunter movies? Just ones before she got her teeth fixed?) Have a Carnation Instant Breakfast and watch DVDs of her TV show? Pet your dog? I'm going to have to think about how I want to celebrate this holiday, a big event around the Cahiers. I feel the urge to wear something yellow.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

* BIG SQUISHY BLOBS MAY FILL KEY TRACKS IN EVOLUTIONARY TIME LINE. Best headline today. Are there porn versions of headlines? Like movies?

* I made a cake! Ongoing and fulsome kudos to Martha B. for her work on her Soup and Bread brainchild. And to Sheila Sachs for organizing Pie/round dessert night.

* I had a dream the other week I canNOT shake. It turns out I am responsible for the collapse of the economy and the erosion of the media. I guess. I was back at my FIRST real job, the one that required a miserable ex-urbian commute, and the offices were being eerily re-inhabited 20 years later as people crept in. People were brainstorming new publishing products and treatments--with Ricky Gervais on board as our special consultant, and I kept trying to figure out if it was ironic or not--and they came up with all sorts of print and newspaper-based solutions that weren't going to work. So they called the whole office together for a BillLumbergh-ian-style meeting and I was just about to speak and tell them how it all didn't work before when...something happened. I woke up a lil. I dunno. I was a visitor from the media-ravaged future, there to save the past, and it didn't happen. All I know is the next thing I remember Jane Fonda was comforting me while we rode on an airport shuttle. Celebrities.

* These things don't quite even really need to be said (which is why they should be, as Barbara Pym, whom I've been quoting all day, once quoted, herself), but sigh. It's kinda gross to see an epic song like "Hello, It's Me" being used to sell whatever it is.

* House of Games on WTTW tonight! When you've done something unforgivable, you must forgive yourself! Yes!
I should be listening to Rheingold today from the Met but I don't seem to have the patience. I do, however, plan on being all over Walküre on the 11th. In the meantime I listen for the 900th time to the greatest (funny) intro to one of the greatest (sad) songs ever. The contrast and bathos in that scene is what I love most about that movie--genuine feeling and suspense mixed with total sneering, glammy makeup at a tiny cafe.

Now, I know a lot of you guys out there tonight, a lot better than some of you'd care to admit. And I know that a few of you kick some karaoke ass. So. If you're looking for your big breakout single--ooh--you might want to put a bid on this one tonight,
ladies and gentlemen, because we are talking to Phil Collins' people, right. But then again...aren't we all?
I am late, late, late to the amazing story of Venezuela's El Sistema, the Simon Bolivar Youth Orchestra and Gustavo Dudamel, but if you're interested in an amazing rush of inspiring musical energy they are well worth checking out if you haven't [thanks as ever to CMT for the headsup]. There is something about seeing the life energy of all these young people poured into the orchestra, as a group, that (I don't really know how to say this) makes sense--musically and in every other way--on the biggest possible scale. They do each other justice, it all feeds each other.

Anyhow, it's amazing music. The clips from the 2007 BBC Proms concert (released on the Fiesta album) are incredibly exciting: the Danzon No. 2 by Arturo Marquez, Shostakovich 10th Symphony (the clips are in a bizillion parts), the Ginastera Dances from Estancia. The encore of the Bernstein mambo (classical music is so fun like that--you actually get to Play Two) is like a rock concert--I'm gonna guess it's been said many times before but it's really easy to picture Lenny with his hands clasped and tears in his eyes hearing it. Amazing thing to listen to to get yourself pumped up for a job interview. Or mainline a thrill from a roaring standing ovation. Or watch an orchestra do The Wave.

Friday, March 27, 2009

I would love to get this blog out of the Google Image Search machinery...does anybody know how to do that? Just the images, I mean--not all of Googlelandia.


* Article in the NYTimes about the film Skip wrote, soon to be online!

* Interview with Holly at about her Mister Rogers album! Many other links from her page for recent media coverage, including snuggiep*bcrawl stuff that's using her music.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

PARKY: "But...the show got taken off?"
RICKY GERVAIS: "Well, it didn't get taken off; Channel 4 wanted to see some changes. Ratings, mainly. I wasn't willing to compromise."
"Then would you read a Sustaining Book, such as would help and comfort a Wedged Bear in Great Tightness?"

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Herz, mein Herz, sei nicht beklommen,
und ertrage dein Geschick,
neuer Frühling gibt zurück,
was der Winter dir genommen.

Und wie viel ist dir geblieben,
und wie schön ist noch die Welt!
Und, mein Herz, was dir gefällt,
alles, alles darfst du lieben!
Things to know:

* Although it feels like nature is Not in the city, you do, in fact, to coin a stephenjaygouldy cliche, live ever in a complicated system of heartbeats and locomotion. As a human, I mean, a human amongst the littler beasties. I have only recently come to see the bird hierarchy I am interrupting, for instance. The seagull>duck>sparrow>pigeon fight going on right outside, all the time. Tossing a cube of bread into the river churns it all up, really fast.

* Mrs. Pettigrew Lives for a Day is a lovely film. Fluffy, like a pair of maribou mules, but nice. The set-up has a nice balance to it. I like Shirley Henderson's precise little voice. And nobody does vulnerable male facial expressions like Ciaran Hinds.

* Old Navy has no clue how to design clothes for fatties, but by sheer luck (I always figure), their tank tops really ROCK. The rest of their 'plus-size' stuff is designed for a skinny 50-foot woman, as it were, but their tank tops continue to please. Enough/right coverage, cheap, long-lasting, many colors. Fab.

* I am going to put in my periodic plug for, as early spring brings lots of otter cubs and hence cute otter cub pix. Delish. That and the cheap tulips: good things.

* I apologize for the rather more intermittent blogitudinous announcements of recent weeks. Real life, with all its mutability and challenge...interfered, I suppose I'll say. C'est la guerre.

Saturday, March 14, 2009


* Fav scenes in Get Shorty: when John Travolta pitches J. Gandolfini down the stairs and when Bette Midler visits Gene Hackman's office at night. The first utilizes Travolta's trademark strutbounce and some great bass (the opening of DJ Greyboy's "Panacea") to good effect, not to mention that dead-eyed TonyS stare I love so much; the latter shows how sexy a scene with good actors can be, even a funny, reluctantly sexy scene.

* Spring appears to be here. Sort of. See?

* I hate the phrase guilty pleasure (hence using it is sort of a guilty pleasure), but if there is any true guilty pleasure in my life it's probably the years and stacks of Martha Stewart Living. Oy. [interminable essay excised here] I'm sorry to say though that it might be leaving the guilty pleasure category now that the magazine has been redesigned starting with the current issue. No more glorious, space-hogging expanse of glossy, well-registered photographs on thick paper, no more minimal text (mostly), no not-too service-y service pieces, no...luxurious image real estate. The new design, not to mention the new paper it's printed on, makes it much less special as a magaziney indulgence. It's packed and crowded...not to mention getting more and more dependent on its staffers--like every media--for modeling and ideas and such. Feels incestuous. It's losing some of its editorial authority and uniqueness.

* Speaking of GPs, in a desire to watch movies OTHER than those that contain any CGI, monsters, sci-fi, fantasy, video game or comic book premise, Nicolas Cage, excessive amounts of fog, dry ice, reaction shots, apocalyptic plot twists, natural disasters, mean cops, good cops, mean criminals, good criminals or the Jonas Brothers, I have been padding my Netflix queue with the fluffiest of choices recently, but even I couldn't watch (literally) more than about 60 seconds of 27 Dresses. Miserable-making. The kicker was the LuvIntrist (Male) being a sports journalist in yet another fake-ass movie NY newspaper. I just couldn't watch that ancient trope one more time while actual newspapers are burning out all around us, plus the movie was just ass. In a similar spirit: better than you'd think is He's Just Not That Into You, strangely, if you can avoid the Friends-like use of people of color as fringey plot padding and the seriously short male actors. At least stuff happens.

* Rilly rilly good: spelt gingersnaps. Rilly good.

* Something to do if you're bored: Bounce up and down on your exercise ball to a Janet Jackson video and take iSight pix every few seconds to make a mock film strip. Reinflate ball.

Friday, March 13, 2009

oh Ali!

Here at Cahiers we are spectacularly thrilled to link to my friend Ali's winning entry in the Real Simple essay contest--the topic was what was the most important day of your life? The interview with her at the beginning is really wonderful, so is the essay, both of which are in the April issue and in the link above. GO ALDRA!!! So verklempt, I am.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Getting completely addictedaddicted to KenKen!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009


Thanks to a publication from the incredibly neato Chicago Conservation Center, the incredibly neato Art for the People, a comprehensive look at "the Rediscovery and Preservation of Progressive- and WPA-Era Murals in the Chicago Public Schools, 1904-1943," I was able yesterday to finally see some of the WPA murals a great-aunt of mine painted. These--there are thirteen--are at the Fort Dearborn Elementary School on South Throop, in the Washington Heights neighborhood. The panel to the left is part of a series showing a sort of wacky, dated representation of the hundred years in Chicago leading up to the Century of Progress Exposition in 1933--this one shows us Modernity! Zeppelins, planes, cars, ocean-liners and a bridge that baffles in its un-Chicago-ness, but cool nonetheless. It is one of four historical panels on the auditorium walls--the other photo below shows the panel (it's huge) in situ--the paintings on the balcony depict the Exposition herself. My great-aunt's name was Elizabeth Merrill Ford, which is fun because it's 2/3 of my name. I highly recommend this book from the CCC if you get a chance to look at it/buy it; there are tons of murals in it like this in the Chicago public schools, all amazing and colorful, thought-provoking. I can easily imagine being a bored kid in a CPS auditorium and just soaking up the colors and shapes and styles into my psyche over the years. (Thanks Sarah, Martha and Cynthia for a fun day rootling around this stuff yesterday.)

Friday, March 06, 2009

Wonder what it was at the Fat Duck.
River East, Chicago, March 2009: Warm enough today to sit--in the sun--without a jacket. The papery-looking ice floes that even yesterday were bumping against each other on the river next to the slip are gone. Ducks are trawling the water in tinily calibrated bits for bugs, seagulls are sassy slowly-floating poop bombs overhead, perky urban doggies strain on their short leashes. The world is saturated with dirt, rather as if the sidewalks and buildings had been under a giant winter flood, and now the waters have receded, leaving soaked-in mud and wetness behind. Dick's Last Resort is closed, so the ducks get fewer Bits and there are no more packs of people in twisted paper condom hats walking around. Also gone: winter weather, for the moment (it's Chicago), and the earth-shaking construction noise from the Spire, now on hold. The sky is still full of cranes and scaffolding, although this noise seems cheerier. The world smells damp and hatching.

Thursday, March 05, 2009