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.