Sunday, May 31, 2009

la vie boheme

We saw Rent yesterday and it was a real treat. I never had the chance to see the show while I lived in New York (and frequented a lot of the locations named in the play - Life Cafe, 8BC, Pyramid, etc.), but the movie version has become a family favorite. The Broadway touring production focused on the music, and the smallish Warner Theater stage actually added to the improvisational-performance art aspect of the show's milieu. All the performances were top-drawer, especially the twin leads of Adam Pascal and Anthony Rapp, who never sought to outsing or outshine each other, but sang in tandem beautifully. Of course show-stoppers like La Vie Boheme and Today 4 U and Seasons of Love were just that. Bravo!

Saturday, May 30, 2009

is there an I Love Lucy reference for everything in life?

Just wondering. I know I bought the DVDs (for my daughter, really) and some episodes are fresh in my mind, but lately it seems like Lucy references are everywhere.

A friend posts some photos and video of adorable baby chicks and the episode where Lucy tries to raise chickens in the "country" (Connecticut) comes to mind.

There's a loud party going on upstairs and all I can think of is the "breaking the lease" episode end hope I don't end up wearing plaster like Fred and Ethel. I'm writing this late at night. I've been known to throw a loud party or two myself in a previous life, so can't get too annoyed. Ahhh...city life.

I've been spending part of my week off updating our genealogy on ancestry and scanning in some really old family photos and remembering Lucy's Scottish highland fling and her disturbing discovery about her roots. And I don't mean her brunette ones, but the "McGillicuddy Curse."

I guess it could be worse.

At least I'm not sunburned and trying to wear an extremely itchy designer wool suit, or getting locked in my walk-in freezer, or trapped on the subway with a trophy stuck on my head...

That bass sure is loud, though. That plaster's coming down...

Friday, May 29, 2009

jazzy

I don't know if we'll make it tonight, but last Friday's jazz in the sculpture garden was a blast. Note to self, however: sangria is really not your drink. The next day's headache was not fun at all...

Thursday, May 28, 2009

sometimes there can only be one truth...

Such as: Neither Lionel Richie nor his music can ever be ironic. Or, iconic. Listen and learn, grasshoppers. Or, preferably, don't listen, but go outside and grab a fresh breath of air or something. You'll thank me later. And you can thank me now for not providing a clip or link. x o e.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

"mrs. Peel, we're needed"



I wanna be Emma Peel. In a lot of ways I'm already like her. I'm smart. Independent. I don't take guff from anyone. I probably could stand to learn a few more self-defense moves.

A Pierre Cardin-clad Steed of my own wouldn't be too shabby, either. I could get used to drinking champagne more often. And I definitely wouldn't mind having her wardrobe, most of it designed by John Bates.


Apparently I'm not the only one who thinks she was a fashion icon.


Elegantly Dressed Wednesday button

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

echo

We spent a lazy rainy Memorial Day at Glen Echo...



Monday, May 25, 2009

m. piedlourde

I'm a summer baby and actually prefer hot D.C. to a cold one, but this weather makes me want to move very ssslllooowwwlllyyy, a la M. Piedlourde...

Sunday, May 24, 2009

forever blowing bubbles





Saturday, May 23, 2009

feeding frenzy


This is how it felt at work this week.


But I'm in vacation now!

Friday, May 22, 2009

public sculpture is for the birds

Do you think Ellsworth Kelly would have ever suspected that his sculpture would be so beloved - by our feathered friends? In this case, mourning doves...

Thursday, May 21, 2009

he can't believe it


The video on this Gawker post pretty much sums it up (more than the post, actually.) It was a completely insane show, with Queen, Kiss, Steve Martin, Fergie and the Black-eyed Peas, Cyndi Lauper and all sorts of horrible singing by the almost-made-its. My favorite high/low light was definitely Norman, who sort of set the tone for the season. How else to explain the "awards" other than an excuse for an ask-back for Norman? But we didn't turn it off, either. I can't feel bad for Adam, because at least now he's not contractually obligated to sing that aaawwwfffuuulll Idol song...

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

there can only be one


As with Highlander, in Idol there can only be one. My five-year old doesn't get this, she wants everyone to win. Last night wasn't even a contest singing-wise, so tonight should just be like watching a landslide. Except the votes are always kept secret. So there is always the air of b.s. floating...but who cares, like all things Hollywood it is all glitz and tinsel. So let's get all shiny and enjoy. Congrats, Adam, whatever happens, you were what was worth tuning in for.

p.s. and there really always was just one Highlander for me, Adrian Paul. As cute as Christopher Lambert may have been, when he spoke, he always sounded like Ren of Ren and Stimpy to me...

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

"do you know why this mouse only has one eye?"


"Because he's a space alien mouse, that's why."

Just thought you should know.

Monday, May 18, 2009

ex-squeeze me? Baking powder?

Some days it feels like everything I needed to know I learned from Wayne's World.



Garth Algar: Uhm, Wayne? What do you do if every time you see this one incredible woman, you think you're gonna hurl?
Wayne Campbell: I say hurl. If you blow chunks and she comes back, she's yours. But if you spew and she bolts, then it was never meant to be.

Wayne Campbell: I once thought I had mono for an entire year. It turned out I was just really bored.

Stacy: Happy anniversary, Wayne.
Wayne Campbell: Stacy, we broke up two months ago.
Stacy: Well, that doesn't mean we can't still go out, does it?
Wayne Campbell: Well, it does actually, that's what breaking up is.\

Wayne Campbell: I mean, there are two Darren Stevens, right? Dick York and Dick Sargeant. Yeah, right, as if we wouldn't notice. Oh hold on: Dick York, Dick Sergeant, Sergeant York... Wow, that's weird.

Garth Algar: Sometimes I wish I could boldly go where no man has gone before... but I'll probably stay in Aurora. What are you thinking about?
Wayne Campbell: Cassandra. She's a fox. In French she would be called "la renarde" and she would be hunted with only her cunning to protect her.
Garth Algar: She's a babe.
Wayne Campbell: She's a robo-babe. In Latin she would be called "babia majora".
Garth Algar: If she were a president she would be Baberaham Lincoln.
[a brief pause]
Garth Algar: Did you ever find Bugs Bunny attractive when he put on a dress and played girl bunny?
Wayne Campbell: No.
[cracks up laughing]
Wayne Campbell: No.
Garth Algar: Neither did I. I was just asking.

Wayne Campbell: Tell me, when the first show is over, will you still love me when I'm an incredibly humungoid giant star?
Cassandra: Yeah.
Wayne Campbell: Will you still love me when I'm in my hanging-out-with-Ravi-Shankar phase?
Cassandra: Yeah.
Wayne Campbell: Will you still love me when I'm in my carbohydrate, sequined-jumpsuit, young-girls-in-white-cotton-panties, waking-up-in-a-pool-of-your-own-vomit, bloated-purple-dead-on-a-toilet phase?
Cassandra: Yeah.
Wayne Campbell: Okay, party. Bonus.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

lazy Sunday

It's just a day to take it slow and easy...

Saturday, May 16, 2009

girl, put your record on

Yesterday's pop-y iPod shuffle had a couple of songs that got me thinking - will my daughter ever experience a record or record player? Would she even know what these songs are about? How Squeeze is playing on a record skipping?


Of course the Cornershop song is pretty inscrutable anyway, even without the 45 references. So inscrutable that it has to be explained. She can at least see a phonograph in the Smithsonian...

Friday, May 15, 2009

back to the eighties

My five-year-old daughter has fallen in love with the movie Back to the Future, without quite understanding it. I've never felt too strongly pro or con about it. I'm sure I saw it in the theater when it first came out. But I was always a little icked-out about the Oedipal/Shmedipal aspect. As the viewer is supposed to be, of course, but still - ick. But I am getting a huge kick out of trying to explain time travel to my daughter and try to gauge how much of the concept and plot is getting through to her.

The bottom line is that she loves Michael J. Fox's character, especially when he hitches a ride on his skateboard (great...) and she just loves the overall confusing-ness of the whole thing. "Why were there two Martys? That Doc must be pretty smart to invent that car. Why was his dad afraid of Darth Vader?" I envision having to record or tape this one soon - whichever ends up being easiest.

Maybe I can get her into some other fun films involving time travel fare:
Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure, A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court, Galaxy Quest, Time Bandits, Groundhog Day Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, The Navigator: A Mediaeval Odyssey, Planet of the Apes, Time After Time, Les Visiteurs, Austin Powers in Goldmember, The House in the Square

And for when she's much, much older: Twelve Monkeys, Warlock.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

danny boy

I haven't been a fan of Danny Gokey since the start of this season's AI. There's always been something too smug about his demeanor and dorky guy dancing for me. Whenever he was on it really was just a karaoke show. And as much as he had the tragic back-story, there was always something a little too calculated about how that was presented.

Gokey and Adam Lambert are definitely two of the most intelligent contestants ever on this win-yourself-a-singing-career game show. In Gokey's case, he very smartly chose a narrative arc - the tragic demise of his young and lovely wife - and played that theme to the (his) bitter end. I don't doubt that he deeply loved her. But I also watched him carefully choose, week after week, a song to sing to her, to constantly remind us of his story.


I don't think anyone was more surprised than Gokey when his name wasn't called last night. No, not even Kris. But he proved himself a consummate professional by not letting his frustrations show as he did an even better performance than the previous night's of the Joe Cocker classic, You Are So Beautiful. He still kept to his theme of course, but it was a great performance.

Kris remained sweet and baffled. My five-year-old daughter summed up his appeal: "Don't yell girls, he belongs to me!"

Provaca-tease Katy Perry showed up with her latest naughty song. I'm still on the fence as to whether I find her totally annoying or want to download her stuff. But I have to applaud a gal who wears her heart on her mini Vegas Elvis-meets-Evel Kneivel-meets-drum majorette cape.

Adam should sail through next week's final. I know some find him odd, or too over-the-top, but I just love the guy, because aside from the fact that he can sing like hell, he's also very, very smart. Just when you think he can only do rock 'n' roll screeching, he softens it up with a Tears for Fears classic. He can also Disney-fy his "do" and channel Zac Effron from Hairspray. I think Simon's choice of U2's One was as inspired as Adam's rendition, and can see him doing a lot of music in this vein. No appearing in the latest casting shuffle of Grease for him. Not that there's anything wrong with that. And Gokey might just do the perfect rendition of Sandy.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

emperor of the North


This is a photograph of my great-grandfather, Lionel William Taylor Winship, in his North Pole gear. We think that he left Spitsbergen, Norway, in September of 1897. So far I haven't been able to find a record of a North Pole expedition of that year including his name, but maybe he was one of many on board some ship? An interesting family mystery to unravel. Any ideas beyond Google search of where I might look would be greatly appreciated. He sure looks spiffy, doesn't he?

Elegantly Dressed Wednesday button

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

did I just see that?

I caught some of the Johnny Depp/Roman Polanski movie The Ninth Gate last night and tuned in just in time to see one of the stranger scenes, where Emanuelle Seigner flies to Depp's rescue on the banks of the Seine. The movies is adapted from just the supernatural aspect of a novel I really liked by Arturo Perez-Reverte, The Club Dumas.It made me think of some other movies that I have watched more than once because of a perplexing scene, performance, plot, or all of the above. These mysteries actually make the films more appealing - a riddle you can never quite decipher.

River Phoenix's performance and his interactions with Samantha Mathis make Peter Bogdonavich's The Thing Called Love something beyond a youthful romance picture. Ostensibly about young musicians trying to break into the country music scene (and there's some great music), the film really becomes a struggle to understand why this romance sometimes just won't, and sometimes does, work. I can never totally figure it out, and it seems, neither can they.


The Big Sleep and Beat the Devil are two puzzlers from Humphrey Bogart. Maybe not the greatest of his movies, but definitely enjoyable to watch him parry with his costars, especially Lauren Bacall and Jennifer Jones (pretending to be Vivien Leigh?).



I remember watching Elia Kazan's The Last Tycoon a few times, trying to work out why Robert DeNiro couldn't quite understand or hold onto an elusive girl. It's from an unfinished story by F. Scott Fitgerald, which might be a factor, but more, I think, this movie illustrates the elusive, temporary nature of all movies and why we come back for repeat viewings, to re-experience them. Sort of like reliving memories. Or past romances. It also has one of my favorite scenes about the power of movies.

Monday, May 11, 2009

mom and pop (culture)

Mother's Day made me think about all the mom pop culture icons we have had through the years, mostly from television. I was too young for Mrs. Cleaver (and found the show a bore when I saw it on Nick at Nite) and too old for Claire Huxtable (and found her perfection a tad annoying.) When I think about the TV moms from my childhood, Samantha Stevens was the coolest. Mrs. Brady was cute, but what about Alice? Shirley Partridge was OK, but who was paying any attention to her, really, in that show? So a beautiful witch was my first pop icon role model. I'm still working on the nose twitch, but so far my magical solution to housework has been to hire a maid service every two weeks.



There is one TV mom I have always connected with, and seems to me both entertaining, and also realistic (if you ignore the last season or so.) Roseanne and her trademark mix of wisecracking and a fierce loyalty to her family is something I can connect to. Re-watching the Connors go through hard times would be especially resonant in today's tough financial climate. Roseanne always worked hard, sometimes at two jobs, and didn't have a Mrs. Trumbull to step in, like Lucy Ricardo. In fact, she was probably more Ethel to sister Jackie's Lucy. As a single mom who has to work hard in order to pay the bills and hopefully get in some playtime with her kid (which is no mean feat), I relate to her character's struggles. And cracking wise more often than not is another trait I share.



I'll never forget the episode when Roseanne takes older daughter Becky to the doctor to get birth control. She is completely freaking out inwardly, but manages to maintain her cool in front of her kid. Especially difficult for her personality type. I only hope I can manage the same.

Darlene: Hawks generally don't pass out on the couch after eating a quart of ice cream (after Roseanne has been "watching her like a hawk")

Roseanne: no matter what we do we're gonna screw our kids up! Let me have Darlene and you can have Becky.
Dan: what about D.J?
Roseanne: we'll flip for it

Roseanne: If I ever get off this sofa I will be unstoppable.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

the eyes have it


Happy Mother's Day!

Saturday, May 09, 2009

"the audacity of soap"

In Real Time with Bill Maher, Maher was on fire with his closing monologue last night. One of his main points was that the president coming on national television and telling us all to wash hands and stay home if we're sick may have actually had an effect. This week sure seemed a lot less pandemic-y. If this is the case, what else could our fearless leader have us do? Maher had some humorous, yet practical suggestions - stop eating junk, read a newspaper, etc. For this most practical and intelligent of presidents maybe he may do just that. C'mon Obama, tell America to eat an apple a day, bring back social niceties and stop and smell the roses, for starters.

Friday, May 08, 2009

swamped

Just in case you were wondering, D.C. is indeed a swamp.


Sometimes a pretty swamp, but still...a swamp.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

we'll miss you, Dom


It's probably been all over the internet a million times already, but I can never get enough of Dom Deluise as Buddy Bizarre conducting "The French Mistake" in Blazing Saddles - pure heaven.

Buddy Bizarre: What in the hell do you think you're doing here? This is a closed set.
Taggart: Piss on you! I'm working for Mel Brooks.
[winds up to punch Buddy]
Buddy Bizarre: Not in the face!
[Taggart punches Buddy in the stomach]
Buddy Bizarre: [collapsing] Thank you...

Buddy Bizarre: Is everybody ready?
[the actors answer with a heavily lisping "yethhhh"]
Buddy Bizarre: Sounds like steam escaping.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

on the town



My daughter loves this movie. I have always had the hots for Gene Kelly. This isn't one of my favorites of his films, but it has a joy and exuberance that is infectious. This WWII era Coast Guard photo of my pop, lower right, has the same joie de vivre. Funny, since the times were so uncertain and dangerous. Ah to be seventeen again...(but not during wartime.)

My dad was also from that hell of a town, the up part...



Elegantly Dressed Wednesday button

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

newsprint memories

Boy, did it stink. All that ink and paper, which would always shred at the edges. I remember sitting in the back seat of my dad's car, rolling up the Hometown News, and rubber-banding them, and then tossing them in the front seat. We would cruise the neighborhood developments, him tossing the papers out the car window. We were canvassing, trying to pick up new subscribers. If it was raining, I had to fold the weekly into a plastic bag first. I also had to package up a quantity of 25 or so to drop off at the houses of our local paper boys or girls. Sometimes we dropped off stacks at a local convenience store. By the end of the day my hands would be black from the ink and my hair full of dust. I reeked of newsprint.

I "escaped" this chore when I went to art school, but I hadn't escaped newsprint. My first year I was instructed to buy newsprint pads for life drawing class. I couldn't believe that artists wanted to draw on the horrible stuff. But it was soon clear that the paper, and the drawings on them, were considered disposable by teachers and students alike.

That's why I can't get too choked up by the "death of newsprint." I haven't read a newspaper in its newsprint form in over a decade. As soon as the New York Times headlines went online, so did I. Apart from the sudoku craze of a year or so ago, there seems little reason for anyone to purchase a paper. They are annoying on public transportation. They are handy lining the litter box, I suppose.

Our country's newspapers need a shock to their system. The quality of journalism has been tanking for years, but certainly reached it's nadir with the so-called reporting, or more accurately, reprinting, of press releases from the last administration. If newspapers want to attract readers, online or elsewhere, then they better bring it up a notch. It's time for a little integrity again and a lot of reporting, backed up by some good old-fashioned research. They all need to rent All the President's Men or Deadline U.S.A. And a decent crossword or sudoku wouldn't hurt, either.

Monday, May 04, 2009

quick question

Just saw Prince Caspian and have to ask - what the hell was that all about? It was like some angry dudes from a Zurburan painting decided to fight some extras from Troy and LoTR. Directed by Disney! Oh, and Tilda Swinton, bless her, sort of shows up for five minutes, but it isn't enough. I was waiting for the sandworms from Dune to appear and my night would have been complete.

everybody's got a story

I have written before about how pleased I was with the adaptation of the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency. The first series is almost over and it just gets better and better. One of the best aspects of Alexander McCall Smith's writing is his interest in all the characters - and some of them are true "characters" - that inhabit his worlds. Happily, the cable series follows his lead. In last night's episode, Mma Ramotswe gently probed her feelings about Rra J.L.B. Matekoni as she solved the episode's mysteries. But also revealed were insights into the characters of BK, Mma Makutsi and her brother Richard.



Because everyone has a story, or series of stories to tell. They might not be apparent at first, or even second or third glance. Some people leave this world without ever sharing their stories. That's life. And that's Smith's writing. It's all about life and love and the choices we make, the paths we take. Mma Ramotswe is a good person, but she can make mistakes, and keep secrets, and cause pain, and love two very different men at different times of her life. Sort of like all of us. And like all of us, it is endlessly interesting to watch and see how she will sort it all out.

Sunday, May 03, 2009

here's something...

Today is the birthday of:

Niccolo Machiavelli
5/3/1469 - 6/21/1527
Italian writer, statesman and political theorist

and

"Alice"
Ann B. Davis
Actress ("The Brady Bunch")

Talk amongst yourselves...

Saturday, May 02, 2009

one more Bea Arthur tribute...

Golden Girls meet Sex and the City - love the Cosmo-mucil cocktail...


First seen on Go Fug Yourself

Friday, May 01, 2009

what's with Katy Perry, anyway?

I keep wanting to hate, then wanting to like, her latest song Thinking of You. The hate part is the strangled, Alanis-like tortured delivery of some of the vocals rather than just singing them, and the deliberate ambiguity of the song's subject. Male? Female? Animal, vegetable, mineral? Oh this ministers' daughter can be so naughty. The like part is, frankly, the song itself, which is a damn near-perfect pop song. Maybe someone else should cover it. Sort of like the great cover of I Kissed a Girl that Steven featured.