Tuesday, June 30, 2009

I saw a guy today who looked exactly, exactly like the drawing of "Prep Persona No. 4" in the Preppy Handbook, down to the hair and retroussé nose. Very odd.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

The pageant hair conundrum is real and it is difficult. It creates an elusive line to toe in the lazy, girly-but-not-femmey woman's desire to work decent hair without it sliding too hard into 80s frowst (my hair's natural state) or grizzy yuck. That is...how to achieve? When to wash? With which product should I have a committed and expensive relationship? How to time the dance of washing/ignoring/fluffing/starting over?

The struggle continues. The answers elude. We soldier on.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

"That is the kind of world we live in," said my cab driver about Michael Jackson. "A very short place."

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

ravenous piggies

I just got back from a wee vacation in Florida (note: same weather & humidity as Chicago at the moment, but more outdoor pools) and one highlight was a trip to a gastropub in Winter Park called the Ravenous Pig. Gastropubberygrubb really makes the palate happy--everything you like, only better, right? Anyhow, I had an amazing salad with delicious crisp pistachios in it and two Gruyere biscuits on the side with good salty butter (oh oh oh). The photo shows me eyeballing my grouper sandwich and frites with truffle salt. I ate the grouper (yum), then put the two halves of the brioche bun together with the lettuce and the sauce gribiche with the biggest bits of egg pushed aside and that may have been the most delicious squishy sandwich I've ever eaten. I had maybe 1/8 of the fries. For dessert some amazing sorbets, including a dark chocolate one. Other yums included nibbles of other people's handmade pretzels with a taleggio dip (YUM) and "pig tail" dessert fritters with chocolate sauce. It was wonderful and the service was great, especially as we were in a big yet separately-checked clump.

Also good in FL was a lil trip to Sonic for some tots and a burger. Sonic advertises so heavily around here, without a location for hundreds of miles--I think I would have to be some kind of inhuman advertising-impermeable monster not to want to scratch that itch at least just a little. Twas great!

Monday, June 22, 2009

One of my all-time fav photogs from the wacky old days at the Reader, Joeff Davis, was just named Photojournalist of the Year by the Press Club in Atlanta, which is where he went after Chicago. He does amazing work that's a pleasure to view, if you want to check out the winning images here or other work in general here. The dude knows how to take a photo.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

There are many reasons to crank at the flow of tourismus around my River North pad, but there's no one silhouette--fashion decision--look--that makes me feel like a pissy old smokin Bette Davis (the one on Phil Donahue) faster than the sight of flip-flops. Why? Why? Why do people wear these?

I know teenage girls don't exist to make decisions with cautious care but they--the girls--look so flimsy in them. They themselves. How can you run? Protect yourself? Be ready for rain or sun? Not be vulnerable to piss and broken glass and dog poop and suddenly falling arches? Many many of the liltouristyteenagerladies in my neighborhood wear shorts, a tank top and flipflops--that's it. They look as if they couldn't (for instance) have room to carry a camera or a notepad. Walk for miles along the lake. Do anything other than look at stuff and be looked at. I know that they find ways to do things anyhow, and I don't think they have to dress to be sensible, but the general feel when you squint at all this, is that they are ever on vacation from life. They just look vulnerable. And as if they are hoping money will protect them.

Flipflops in extremis (Kate H*dson in NY recently)--also a no go, if you ask me.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

My daily life is becoming (nicely) described by more rituals of tea these days: tea in the morning, tea at night, tea sometimes during the day. I had a cup of coffee yesterday, a desperate, basically pharmaceutical act to get me awake at around 3:00 p.m., and I really don't know how people can drink that stuff first thing in the morning. My stomach was somewhat empty and just one cup left me urping, bilious and jittery. I like it after a meal occasionally or maybe with a late diner breakfast, and that's about it.

Anyhow, so I'm thinking an awful lot about tea. I would never be a miffy, mostly because I never use m, but I have to say that I am willing to be quite gauche about using my tea saucer. Especially when tea mugs are getting bigger and bigger and keep the liquid hot for quite a while. It really helps regulate the temperature of the tea to pour some out in the saucer and drink--slurp genteely--as necessary. I do think about Eliza Jane Wilder in Farmer Boy every time I do it, though.

Friday, June 12, 2009

One. Thing. At. A. Time.
Just saying!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

~Some seriously fleeting ephemera grabbed outta the air~

* My Sophie Tucker obsession rages unabated. Can't start my day without listening to "Fifty Million Frenchmen." The song that nukes me the most--musically, I mean--is "After You've Gone." My favorite songs are usually ones that transition well in and out of choruses/verses, and that one just...folds open like a flower. Drops achingly into the emotion of the chorus that the verse sets up even as the melody reaches higher. Creates the sound of resignation. I don't know how to describe how well I think that song's written. And I sure love her scratchy yearning version of it.

* More B&W fabulousness recently seen: the Powell/Pressburger film I Know Where I'm Going (1945), which contains a lot of slightly clichéd romantic through-lines familiar to contemporary audiences (not its fault, I think), but still...boy is it GOOD. Oh boy oh boy. And how did I not realize that I'm in love with Roger Livesey before? Colonel Blimp didn't do it for some reason. Golly. That diffident Cecil Parker-ish voice with those dashing looks and that Nose. Matinee idol dreamy...

* People are often fond of 'complaining' about their eclectic music tastes--OMG I'm so diverse!--rather as people might complain about buying bras for their big big boobs (in certain contexts, I mean; god knows that's a valid complaint)--but I have to say that that ill-thought out playlists really are kind of hard on the ears. Richard and Linda Thompson don't go well with anything other than more Richard and Linda Thompson, much less Michael Jackson. Or Pebbles. Or Journey. See? I did it too.

* Sheldon Leonard has to have the most recognizable voice in show business. Period. Full stop. TV, movies, whatever. Was there anybody else whose voice was so immediately, exactly theirs?

* I now own a ukulele. I can plink away on it not too terribly badly, as long as I don't follow a time signature, correct form, or any of the directions for chords other than C or G7. But hey. Onward and upward. Start making requests.

* I am new to the Ella Fitzgerald version of "Ding-Dong! The Witch Is Dead" and oh! does it swing. Such a fabulous mix of stuff, her voice and that tune. It's a powerful thing.

* Just throw your hands in the air
and do the best you can, everybody

* I was lucky enough to receive a few books in the mail recently, most of which belonged my grandmother--pretty old editions of works by Louisa May Alcott. Not the rarest things in the world, as far as I know, but very valuable to me. Lovely to see my grandmother's ink signature, written in them 100 years ago on the far south side of Chicago. Thank you, Uncle K.

* I dunno about you, but my eyes are constantly rimmed with both red and then dark circles underneath these days. It is Allergy Time.

* I could drink grapefruit juice by the swiggy gatoradecommercial gallon. Just love that stuff.

* Delicious lunch at Smoque today (hi Mike!). The brizkit fell apart under my fork and with some vinegary coleslaw on a squishy bun made an unbelievable sammch.

* I have been experiencing wild, technicolor, E!-Entertainment-meets-my-life dreams these days, populated by walk-ons from all weird corners of my life. Last night's, solipsy aside, must be recorded in the sketchy ways I can still remember it at this point, because it was rather juicy. It was set in the 70s, and there were all sorts of lucite-y, Helvetica-y, NY-Art-Scene nods to 2009 technology in it: "twitter" postings projected onto the wall, "cell phone" messages on paper, "Facebook" connections. Reverse nostalgia. Rachel Ray was in the dream, and as part of a TV promotion she was helping me pick a dog to match my cats, in this case a kangaroo-like Yorkie/Rottweiler mix that had really short arms like a T-Rex and hopped around. Also for part of the dream I was in a mansion (that Rosie O'Donnell was renting for her family), which a friend realized was the Spelling mansion because of the Monet-pained lily wall murals--half lilies, half flat hotel purple/mauve--in one of the indoor bar areas. I was also running around a mall trying to get paper-wrapped canvasses to somebody or other (more 70s...I remember DVF wraparound dresses and big earrings) and the only other thing I can say here is that my brain also found a way to incorporate some of the "Jizz in My Pants" SNL video in the mix. Nuts.

I'm going to bed.

Friday, June 05, 2009

Another entry in the category of Ongoing Gap-Filling in Film Education:

The fantastic Carrol Reed/Graham Greene film The Fallen Idol, with Ralph Richardson and Bobby Henrey (left) as the boy whose incomplete child's perspective drives the film. It's an astonishing movie, and does what I'm starting to crave most in this CGI-ed world we live in (I made it through about an hour of Night at the Museum last night before boredom with the repetitive rhythm of dead-eyed-Ben-Stiller-reaction-shot/Some-New-CGICreature-shot sent me away): tells an engaging, sometimes heartbreaking story, with human interaction at the core, as its engine. It's really really good. Cool, suspenseful, creepy, and so very specific in its time/place. It was so good I kept running out of the room.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Really enjoyed: Dawn French's Girls Who Do Comedy and Boys Who Do Comedy interview series, which you can see on YooToob (in small pieces) if you so desire. Also interesting are some of the longer interviews shown in toto, such as the one with Russell Br*nd, not a dude I find remotely interesting in the lil performance snippets I've seen, but enjoyed in his interview strangely much (part one starts here).

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Waiting for me yesterday morning when I woke up: oatmeal bread, baguettes, biscuits, and a pile of chocolate oatmeal choccy-chip cookies. All handmade by arguably one of the world's greatest houseguests, to whom I say thanks, Comrade R, as you chug westward back to the PNW. Gotta love a guy who travels with his own yeast. Godspeed!