Tuesday, December 29, 2015


I think I am the only person I know who really hated Carol, the new movie based on a Patricia Highsmith novel. Because I loved The Talented Mr. Ripley so much, I was very excited to see another one of her novels adapted. Also it got wonderful reviews and many friends recommended it.

So, what didn't I like about it? EVERYTHING (acting, directing, plot). The pacing was just awful. Long drawn out scenes, extended silences between dialogue. I think this was intended to create a sense of sexual tension between the two main characters, and to add gravitas and tragedy to many of Blanchett's scenes. But for me every moment was flaccid. They all just fell flat.

I usually love Cate Blanchett, but here her voice and speech patterns seemed so affected and cliche that I could barely take her seriously. The love story did not compel me in the least, and I couldn't have cared less about the outcome.

John Mulaney: The Comeback Kid and New In Town

The other night I watched BOTH the John Mulaney comedy shows available on Netflix: New In Town, and The Comeback Kid.

He has an interesting dorky but engaging delivery and a wonderfully amiable way of making fun of himself. His standup weaves stories of his life as a child in a Catholic household in the 80s, with observations about contemporary life in New York City and his relationship with  a Jewish woman. His boyish open face is one of his greatest assets and his timing is wonderful. For instance, he tells an amusing story about an old guy who walks into the office from a rainstorm and says something odd about feeling like a duck. The story is totally funny; very short -- a few lines of dialogue. But then Mulaney says he wants to break it down. And he goes back over the story from start to finish. I first thought this would be tedious, but he really pulls the hilarity out of the anecdote in a great way. I also particularly loved the story of him meeting Bill Clinton when he was a kid.

Men, Women, and Children

Men, Women, and Children is a grim, somewhat pretentious morality tale about the dangers of the Internet (2014, really?).

Comprised of several narratives about teens at a suburban high school and their parents, it features a young anorexic whose obsession is partially maintained through pro-anorexia websites; a teen who is so Internet porn addicted that he can't enjoy sex IRL; one whose social life is limited to the online players in a virtual reality game he plays all the time; one who is so focuses on her "modeling" website as a means of pursuing a career as a beautiful celebrity; and finally a girl whose mother will not allow her any online autonomy and tracks all her accounts and logins etc. The adults include the modeling teens "stage" mom, who photographs her daughter's every prurient move; an estranged couple who don't have sex anymore and secretly pursue escort services and Madison Ashley hook-ups; the aforementioned helicopter mom; and others. To make things worse was this somewhat tongue-in-cheek narration by Emma Thompson that was just totally unnecessary and stupid.

The only engaging thing in this whole movie was Judy Greer's performance as the mom obsessed with her kid's career. She gradually begins to realize that she is borderline prostituting her daughter and has a relatively subtle, not over-acted, crisis of conscience and epiphany.

Another thing I kind of enjoyed was the way Men, Women, and Children integrated online and phone activity into the narrative -- if it wasn't done in such an overhanded finger-wagging way, the use of text dialogue and google searches and other web stuff added a dimension to the film that does realistically depict an important aspect of our lives.

Friday, December 25, 2015

Getting On

I watched all three (short) seasons of Getting On and think it's a brilliant show. Gallows humor. Awkward humor. It is about the workers on an extended care unit where most of the patients are elderly and dying. The main doctor on the unit is played by Laurie Metcalf who is so amazing in this role as a haggard, intense, obsessive doctor whose research interests concern stool. She is always in a state of near meltdown, just barely holding it together. She is also rude and oblivious to those around her. The episodes are riddled with small meannesses, and the characters are all flawed and somewhat tragic. But somehow it's fucking funny as hell.

Towards the end of the third season the story lines became a little too serious for me, though, and I began to lose interest.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Demetri Martin: Live (At the Time)

Last night I couldn't sleep and I streamed Demetri Martin: Live (At the Time). I was not familiar with this comedian, and I enjoyed his performance a lot. It's mainly one liners, slightly dry delivery with an amiable manner. Not the most brilliant or insightful humor, but good clean fun. Many of his jokes focus on language and quirks of vernacular which I particularly got a kick out of.

The Other Woman

The Other Woman is a really tedious melodrama about the difficulties a second wife experiences, working through the loss of a baby, a difficult relationship with her husband's son, and the resentment of his first wife. It's just not interesting at all.

Friday, December 18, 2015

Transparent (S2)

I recently finished the second season of Transparent. Although I tremendously enjoyed the first season last year, this one seemed much deeper, more nuanced, complex, and beautiful. The pacing seemed a bit slower, and the tone seemed less comedic and more focused on small moments of insight. The acting was brilliant all around.

Like last year, my favorite character is Maura, who Tambor plays with great delicacy. To me she had a somewhat haunted, lost look on her face in many scenes, but there were moments when her smile conveyed so much sweetness. The other characters all grew on me and I felt more connected to their different struggles. S2 wove several themes together throughout the season, such as explorations of sexuality and Jewish culture in the 21st century US.

Without any spoilers, a few beautiful scenes that stood out for me: The adult siblings having an underwater tea party; the mother breaking down at a family dinner; Maura hugging her friend Shay (?), and the final moment of the final scene hit me so hard I burst into tears.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

About a Boy

About a Boy is one of my all time favorite movies. I'm so glad I watched it again this weekend.

Hugh Grant plays a very clever guy who cherishes his lack of attachment to others. He finds himself reluctantly involved in the difficult life of a troubled boy, and as much as he resists participating in their problems, a true friendship grows between him and the boy, in a way that is incredibly heartwarming and heartbreaking without being cliche.

Toni Collette plays the boy's suicidal and clinically depressed mother, and this is treated with great compassion. At the same time About a Boy is enormously funny. The lines are fantastic and some of the awkward scenarios are just priceless.

Mystic Pizza

I have wanted to see Mystic Pizza forever, but it always seemed too frivolous. I finally caved and this  late-80s coming of age story is charming. Centering on three young friends in Mystic CT, a sort of summer tourist spot, where they are the working class townies, it explores their romantic struggles. The youngest, who will soon be starting as a Freshman at Yale (if she can come up with some money to help with her partial scholarship), has a deep, painful crush on a 30-year old man she babysits for. The character played by Julia Roberts is her sister, a sort of tough floozy with no direction in life, who becomes involved with a very rich law school drop out. The third character is played by Lili Taylor and she has a tremendously fulfilling relationship with her boyfriend, but is afraid of marriage and commitment.

It was so sweet seeing these actors at the very beginning of their careers. They were so young (Lili Taylor is adorable)! (It also includes Matt Damon in a very small role).

The English Teacher

The English Teacher isn't a great movie, but I found it thoroughly enjoyable. It's about a high school teacher who becomes overly invested in the production of a school play. A former student had unsuccessfully pursued a career as a playwright and Julianne Moore's character is determined to make it come to life.

As she unravels, there are many humorous but painful moments. In some ways the story reminded me of Election. But this is not as clever, nor as dark, a movie.

Working Girl

When Working Girl was released in the 80s I was a know-it-all feminist art snob and I always had a knee-jerk critical disdain for mainstream hit movies. So I hated Working Girl back then.

I watched it over the weekend and was incredibly entertained. Sure, there are many cheesy elements and crass stereotypes. But the writing was fun, the plot was engaging, the actors were committed, and I was totally 100% into it.

I posted about it on Facebook and many people distinctly remembered many great lines:

"I've got a head for business, but a bod for sin."

"Who the fuck died and made you Grace Kelly?"

"Six thousand dollars???! Are you kidding me! It isn't even leather!"

"No one wants to see the quarter back passing around the Gatorade"

"Sometimes I sing and dance in my house in my underwear. That don't make me Madonna. Never will."

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Macy Gray!!!!

Last night I saw Macy Gray perform at City Winery. She was crazy charming and talented. It was such a small intimate setting and her energy was huge. She sang lots of songs from her first album On How Life Is, and lots of newer work which was all wonderfully funky and soulful and uplifting. She seemed so happy up on stage. She kept calling us sexy people. And she kept asking why we wouldn't dance with her.  The audience remained seated most of the evening, but when she did my all time favorite song, Relating to a Psychopath, I couldn't help myself and got up danced. Such a great concert.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Complexions Contemporary Ballet

This weekend I saw Complexions Contemporary Ballet perform at The Joyce. The program included four dances. My favorite was the longer first dance, set to Bach. The dance had a choppy and dynamic feel to it. Romantic and complex. The choreography throughout the evening was consistent. Certain movements which I quite liked were repeated in different scenarios. The final dance was set to Metallica and was broad, brash, over-the-top but very exciting.

Master of None

I watched the entire first season of Master of None this month. The Netflix series starring Aziz Ansari is incredibly watchable. Interesting and entertaining, it follows Aziz's character Dev negotiating 21st Century dating complexities and life as the son of Indian immigrant parents. There are many funny lines, awkward moments, and scenarios. But what I enjoyed most about this show is the generous and kind nature of Dev, who is curious and interested in others experiences. He devotes time to exploring his parents' lives and struggles as new immigrants, the life and personality of his girlfriend's grandmother, the common experiences women have with creepy guys. Dev's energy and respect for others infuse this show with a very unique charm.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Avenue Q

Over the weekend I saw Avenue Q, and off Broadway musical that I've been hearing good things about for a decade.

I hated it. It was schlocky -- the music was boring and embarrassing, the thin plot had nothing compelling it, and the use of puppets for some of the characters just seemed annoying to me. Worse, it was offensive in a blithely cheerful way -- actors and puppets singing and dancing about racism, among other things. My friend and I walked out at intermission.

Solitary Nation

Solitary Nation is a disturbing PBS Frontline documentary of the use of solitary confinement in US prisons. It looks at the inhumane practice while considering the difficulties corrections officials face with some very troubled and violent inmates.

A Royal Affair

A few weeks ago I watched A Royal Affair, a movie about the relationship triangle between the King and Queen of Denmark and the King's physician.

The arranged marriage between Caroline and King Christian quickly disintegrates as it turns out that he is totally bonkers. He forms a close friendship with the man he appoints as his royal physician, who in turn begins a hot and heavy affair with Caroline. The movie is slowly paced, but this is okay. The romantic aspect of the movie is located within a complex of political intrigues and relationship dynamics, and eventually Caroline and lover seem motivated more by a desire to put forth Enlightenment reforms than to simply have sex with each other, which is quite interesting. I was particularly intrigued by the relationship between King Christian and his physician. At first you hate Christian for being so crazy and spoiled and oblivious. But it gradually becomes clear how vulnerable and isolated he is. There is much tenderness between him and the physician and Christian's final act as King is deeply horrifying.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Cinderella again!!!

Company XIV is by far my most favorite performance troupe ever! This weekend I went back to the Minetta Lane theater to see their production of Cinderella for second time.

They do such an amazing job of every single aspect -- the dancing, the costumes, the eroticism, the camp, the singing, the athleticism. It all comes together in a very sexy and aesthetically sophisticated way.

This time I had better, more center seats, and was able to get a better visual sense of the whole. The performers are all so fun and beautiful, the show is so generous in how much entertainment it provides. Again my favorites were the chanteuse Fairy Godmother, and the high camp Stepmother.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Sun Kil Moon

Last night I saw Sun Kil Moon at the Town Hall. He gave a really beautiful and mesmerizing performance. I have two albums of his which I love, and it was great seeing him live, and seeing the feel he gives to his songs. He has an odd, introverted way of moving on the stage, as if he's kind of in his own world. His band was wonderful and they did extended versions of his songs in such a lovely and exciting way. At times it seemed like orchestral folk, at others like wild rock. There is so much intimacy in his lyrics, a mix of sad profundity and quotidian observations and feelings. He is a very unique and special artist.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Anjelah Johnson Not Fancy

Anjelah Johnson's new comedy special, Not Fancy, is so entertaining. She is really charismatic and engaging. Her humor comes from her cute and playful delivery, and her ability to weave observations with gentle self-mockery. I enjoyed it very much.

Cinderella -- Company XIV

Austin McCormick is a genius! His amazing Company XIV did it again! This time a sexy fantasmagorical interpretation of Cinderella. The combination of opera, circus, Baroque dance, vaudeville and cabaret is enormously engaging in this erotic and fun production. The costumes, lighting, music, and movement were all incredibly top-notch and mesmerizing. They certainly know how to maximize the aesthetic possibilities of 18th century undergarments!

The Cinderella narrative is kind of sparse -- providing the occasion for incredible, sultry and comedic numbers that I can't wait to see again. My favorite performances were Katrina Cunningham as the chanteuse/Fairy Godmother, and Davon Rainey as the high camp, extraordinary dancer playing the Stepmother.

Thursday, September 24, 2015


I finally watched Bound, which I've been meaning to see for two decades. It is a sexy mob film featuring a steamy relationship between two women. One, played by Jennifer Tilly, lives with her mobster boyfriend, and she invites her lover, played by Gina Gershon, to help her steal a shit load of money and set him up so they can run away together and start a new life.

It is very tense, and there is quite a bit of violence. Weirdly, there were parts -- particularly scenes with the mobsters -- that I'm sure I've seen before. Maybe they were familiar because those kinds of mob confrontations rely on overused tropes? Maybe I've actually seen this movie before? In any event, it was engaging. The relationship between the women was the most compelling and interesting part. Even though Jennifer Tilly, with her annoying whispering contrived voice, bugs me incredibly.

Madame Bovary

I watched the recent (2014?) adaptation of Madame Bovary the other night. I read the book many years ago and had mixed feelings about it. It was fascinating and riveting and sexy. But the main character, Emma Bovary, was hard to sympathize with.

This version is okay. It is interesting but falls flat emotionally. The story is about a young woman who marries a country doctor and suffers from intense boredom and a sense of being trapped in a mundanity and mediocrity. Her husband is kind, but dull. Also he is unambitious and unglamorous, which is a big deal to Emma. She begins to have affairs and gets deep in debt, both which lead to her downfall.

What seemed lacking in the movie was the intensity of her affairs. I remember from the book that they totally transported her. That they were passionate and all-consuming and gave her tremendous relief from her malaise. In this adaptation they just felt like a handful of liasons and the depth of emotion was not conveyed.

Diary of a Teenage Girl

Over the weekend I saw Diary of a Teenage Girl. I really liked it. It's about a 15 year old girl in 1976 enjoying and exploring her sexuality. She loses her virginity to her mother's boyfriend and has an affair with him. This is something I thought I'd have a very hard time with, but there was something so honest and compassionate about the filmmaking that made the potential sordidness okay, or at least understandable. The characters were well developed, and the actress who played the girl, Minnie, was wonderful. She conveyed vulnerability and joy and confusion so well. Also, she was very assertive and unapologetic about her desires, which was great to see. It is a very moving, smart, and tender movie.

Sunday, September 6, 2015


Last night I watched Birdman, starring Michael Keaton. I found it sort of mesmerizing and interesting, and it took my a while after it was over to decide whether or not I liked it. I decided that I did not.

Birdman is filmed in a sweeping, fast, yet somehow claustrophobic style that seems like one long camera shot. This is amazing, but it's also dizzying, and distorting. Add to that a score of a seemingly unending drum performance, and I found myself on edge and uncomfortable throughout.

But these effects weren't really the problem. The drama is self is over-wrought and heavy handed. Way overly emotional and all at a very high pitch. The characters are constantly giving too-well-written dramatic speeches and screaming in everyone's face in a stage-y confrontational manner. The stage-yness is part of Birdman's conceit. It's about a Hollywood actor once famous for playing a movie superhero, tries to establish himself as an artist by adapting a Raymond Carver story and directing and starring in it on Broadway. The theme of entertainment vs. real art is a cliche that kind of bores me. And the crisis of the performer coming to terms with his demons has been done before, and better, most notably in All That Jazz, based on Bob Fosse.

How Cats Took Over the Internet at MOMI

Yesterday I also took in the Museum of Moving Images new show, How Cats Took Over the Internet. This small exhibition provides a timeline of cats in the media, exploding with the rise of personal videos and ubiquitous phone cameras, along with the internet. It features a lot of cuteness, and an interesting film loop of various wonderful videos. I wouldn't make the trip just for this exhibition, but if you're going to be there anyway, it's definitely a fun thing to check out.

Matthew Weiner's Mad Men at MOMI

Yesterday I went to the Mad Men exhibition at Museum of the Moving Image. This show featured many artifacts from the brilliant show that I loved so much. It was wonderful seeing all the clothing, furniture, items, and small details that went into capturing the era. Clearly the producers wanted to get everything just right, and they did an amazing job. From taking photos of Don's childhood and aging them, to having Sally Draper write lists of her favorite things about Glenn, the cosmetics in Betty Draper's vanity... the many cigarette lighters, the old version of typewriters and phones and office supplies. The exhibition was really fun and made me want to watch the show all over again.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Aziz Ansari Dangerously Delicious

The other night I watched the stand-up special Aziz Ansari: Dangerously Delicious. I laughed through the whole thing. He is very entertaining and so fun to watch. He really had me giggling and enjoying myself!

Friday, August 21, 2015

Melissa Ferrick at City Winery

Melissa Ferrick was absolutely amazing tonight at City Winery in SoHo. She sang beautiful, elegant songs from her new album which really drew me in emotionally. They were thoughtful and uplifting and finely-crafted with moving lyrics, and the performance was raw and energetic and honest. I really enjoyed her banter with the audience and discussions of where some of the songs originated. I'm so glad I got to see this performance!

I liked City Winery a lot too. I had never been before. They serve tasty food and wine and our seats were terrific. I'll definitely be going back

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Orange is the New Black, Season 3

I was blown away by the third season of Orange is the New Black, which I watched in its entirety this weekend. Just as S2 improved upon S1, this season surpassed my expectations, going much deeper into relationships and character. Unlike S2, it wasn't dominated by dramatic power struggles. This felt more sprawling. Funnier, more engaging, and much more tender. The writers and directors and actors do such a good job creating dimension and giving the characters dignity. All have dark sides, many do mean things, and many make poor choices. But there is a warmth to the portrayal that kept me invested in all of them.

In this season the federal prison goes into contract with a private company, and there is more emphasis on the situation of the administrators and COs, which I found interesting. There are surprising and sweet friendships that form -- between Big Boo and Pennsatucky, Healy and Red, Caputo and Fig, to name a few. And there are surprising character transformations as well.

The end brilliant ending scene is described here in The Atlantic. It was incredibly beautiful and uplifting, even as the horizon for many of the characters is painfully grim.

Monday, August 10, 2015


The Amy Winehouse documentary, Amy, is so good. It follows her very early career through to her death at age 27. I was very drawn to the earlier footage, and the way it showed her emerging as an artist (for example writing her first songs). She was funny and charming and devoted to her art. I had never heard the music from her first album, Frank, and it was really stunning.

Her life began to unravel after the worldwide success of Back to Black. She and her husband (a true asshole) began using harder drugs and Amy got lost in her excess. She hated the fame, never really wanting to be a celebrity, and key people around her (father, husband, second manager) were just awful and selfish and unconcerned about her demise. She did have some true friends from childhood who wanted desperately to help her but they didn't have enough influence over the others to have any effect.

What I really came away with after watching Amy was a deeper appreciation of her music and artistry and I feel like we were all cheated of decades of amazing work she had left to produce.

Friday, August 7, 2015

LeeSaar at Celebrate

I saw the dance company LeeSaar perform at Celebrate Brooklyn! tonight. They performed "Grass and Jackals" which was a kind of cerebral dystonic piece that was energetically and physically interesting and surprising. I had a lot of trouble absorbing myself in it because the music was a little abstract for me, but mainly because there was a baby and a small child playing in the aisle next to my seat. They cooed and ran up and down and threw stuffed animals and it was incredibly distracting. I don't know why anyone would bring such young children to this kind of event. Anyway, the dancing was truly masterful. Sexy, odd, inventive, and dynamic. The ending sequence was particularly beautiful.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Thought Crimes: The Case of the Cannibal Cop

The HBO documentary Thought Crimes: The Case of the Cannibal Cop is very disturbing. It's about a police officer who engaged in extremely extensive online chats about kidnapping, drugging, raping, murdering, cooking, and eating women. The chats were so detailed, and potential victims were stalked -- both online and possibly in real life -- that when it came to the attention of law enforcement they charged him with conspiracy to kidnap.

The details of his fantasy chat life are so disgusting that it's hard to look at this case from an intellectual, social justice perspective. He didn't actually DO anything. No crime was committed. And I absolutely do not believe in punishing people for fantasies. At the same time I understood jurors and professionals concerns about the fantasies and online activity escalating. Thought Crimes raises important and not easy issues about technology, identity, surveillance, and behavior.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

The World of Henry Orient

The World of Henry Orient is a quirky 1964 movie set all over Manhattan. It's about two fourteen year old girls who form a close friendship and develop a crush on a caddish concert pianist (Peter Sellers). They follow him around as he attempts to seduce a married woman, and zaniness ensues. It's a really sweet movie that seems to have nostalgia built right into it. The ending darkens and becomes tender. A fun, satisfying, special movie.

Monday, July 27, 2015

The World According to Garp

The World According to Garp is a perfect and beautiful movie. The narrative is rich and colorful and cluttered, bright and bountiful. Each scene is like it's own short story -- so much happens in terms of both plot and emotion. And then there is more and more and more. The characters all quickly found a way into my heart, so that I felt moved and invested in each moment.

At the center of the movie is the very unique and profound relationship between Garp and his mother Jenny Fields, a fiercely independent and idiosyncratic woman, played with sturdy gentleness by Glenn Close. It is rare to see a film depict this bond. Garp's relationship to his own family is also developed in tender and loving and playful ways. The fun spirit of the movie exists alongside this wonderful and wrenching tenderness, which is exemplified by Robin Williams' performance capturing human pain and happiness at the same time.

Oh, and it's very funny!

Saturday, July 25, 2015


The Netflix documentary Tig, about comedian Tig Notaro, is pretty great. It follows her life right before and an in the aftermath of a serious breast cancer diagnosis. She was just living her life and one day got really sick, and it turned out she had a life threatening intestinal infection. As she was recovering from that her mother suddenly died. Then she got diagnosed with breast cancer and had a double mastectomy.

Tig explores how she integrated these events into her standup routine, and how doing so broke boundaries in comedy and brought her career to a new level. The documentary showcases many of her performances. It also explores her personal life, attempts to make a baby, and a delightfully promising new relationship. It is a fascinating portrait of a very grounded, relatable, funny, and talented woman.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Year of the Dog

It's difficult to describe my experience of the movie Year of the Dog. I had a very emotional reaction to it, starting at the beginning sequence showing the sweet relationship between Peggy and her dog Pencil, and his death soon after the start. Year of the Dog is about what happens in her life after this event. It seems as if the movie is going to be about her finding human love to replace this relationship, but it goes much deeper into her the quality of her inner life, the limitations of the world around her, and the profound meaning that can be found through compassion. Peggy is flawed and not always "likeable", but she is drawn with so much respect and kindness by the writer and director, and Molly Shannon's performance, that I physically felt her pain and yearning and stubborn earnestness. Year of the Dog is billed as a comedy, and there are very many funny moments, awkward moments, terrific lines and scenes, marvelous supporting cast. Still, the emotional depths and sadnesses here made it not a comedy for me, but a touching, quiet, bittersweet drama. The ending -- which turns its back on any rom-com expectations -- carried a very unique and lasting beauty.

Rod Roland: Best Loved

I just finished the lovely and perfect Best Loved, by Rod Roland. This chapbook published by Old Gold in 2013 is a collection of poems that all convey an emotional sweetness and masterful command of language. They are sturdy and delicate at the same time. They are beautifully held together by a quiet and assertive poetic voice.

So many favorite poems here, so many delightfully surprising and longing and smart lines.  Here's a particular special moment, a section from "Long Live Gregory":

call the priests to the locked tower
where they sent you
the pills are good
you love an alcoholic
she's savage and weeps
locked in her room
hope she writes often
and sends lots of cash
             you're a big deal
your poems are better than happiness
you have that one sorrow I love

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Momix: Alchemia

Momix is an intense dance company that creates visually arresting and magical productions. A few years ago I got to see Botanica, and tonight I saw their newest creation, Alchemia. This show blends haunting video, athletic dancing, ingenious costumes, gorgeous lighting, ecstatic music, and enthralling choreography to create an otherworldly sensory experience. Moody, abstract, mesmerizing. Every element of the piece transforms from one state to another in haunting ways. The dancers were adept at manipulating costumes and props effortlessly and gracefully. This was a stunning and aesthetically satisfying evening.

Friday, July 3, 2015

American Ballet Theater, Cinderella

Last night I was delighted by the charming production of American Ballet Theater's Cinderella.

There was cute buffoonery, lovely costumes, and just wonderful dancing. My favorite was the second act, at the ball, which was practically all straight dance without much narrative. All in all it was a joyous concoction.

Last night Cinderella was danced by Marianela Nunez; the prince, James Whiteside, and, perhaps my favorite, the Fairy Godmother, danced by Isabella Boylston. (The prince and Cinderella pictured here are not the dancers we saw).

Friday, June 26, 2015

Lucinda Williams

Last night's Lucinda Williams concert at Celebrate Brooklyn! was phenomenal!

She was raw, and slow and rocking. Her songs convey so much anguish and longing, in such a gorgeous, sad, and truthful way. She is a terrific performer and her band (The Big Six?) was fucking awesome. They really went all out on some numbers.

I've been listening to Lucinda Williams for many years but had never seen her live. Some favorites from the evening: "Foolishness"; "Drunken Angel"; "Lake Charles"; "Joy"; and the haunting "Unsuffer Me".

Garfunkel and Oates

The other night I watched the totally delightful, uniquely funny series, Garfunkel and Oates. The show is about two women in their early thirties in LA who are a comedic song duo. Their songs, as well as the series in general, is off-beat, surprising and sexually frank, self-deprecating, and smart. It's really a tremendous amount of fun, with a little social and feminist insight thrown in. I hope they make a second season, because I'm now a huge fan.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Rise of the Planet of the Apes

I liked Dawn of the Planet of the Apes so much that right after I watched the earlier movie in the series, Rise of the Planet of the Apes. While watching Dawn I was not aware of not understanding anything; there was no point of confusion. But seeing the first one I realize I would have enjoyed Dawn more if I had watched these in the proper order.

Rise shows us Caesar as a baby and his development in a human family -- which explains his tolerance and affection for humans in Dawn (which I didn't question but which now makes much more sense). It also explains his knowledge of events that led up to everything, and his ultimate position as alpha among the apes. In Rise we see several characters such as Maurice (my favorite) and Koba (such a perfect villain), which provides background for their relationships depicted in Dawn.

I was very charmed by and invested in Caesar's story throughout, and was not expecting that emotional connection. I guess he was just such a cute baby and little imp. Plus, a real range of feeling were conveyed by his eyes.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

I'm not exactly sure how it happened but I found myself watching Dawn of Planet of the Apes. Even odder: I enjoyed it! Very much in fact. I kept trying to feel superior to it, but the truth is I was very drawn into the action and the conflicts. The only thing I didn't like was the unnecessary but thankfully slight development of the emotional story line between some of the humans. Of course I was rooting for Caesar and his family the whole time.