Saturday, April 30, 2005

Rainy Saturday Afternoon At Work

It's a work crunch weekend, ahead of my three-day calamity of a Mexican conference. Just had a nice brunch at Bright Food Shop with my ex Brian and his boyfriend Joe, who came to town to see Kelly in Julius Caesar. Bright Food, you will recall, is where the Southwest meets the Far East, and Joe and I chose Cornmeal Griddle Cakes while Bri feasted on Tortilla French Toast with Piloncillo (shaved brown sugar) and Orange Cream. All for less than $15 a head, mind you, including fortune cookies.

At left, an art student's conceptualization of rain. Purrty, huh?

Last night I watched 90% of an "Avengers" episode on DVD, in black & white, from 1966, which I hope to finish tonight. They really are gems of wit, preserving 1960s Brit fashion, design, and architecture in televised amber. Like "Twilight Zone," it's that rare show that I enjoy as an adult as much as - perhaps more than - I did while growing up.


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Friday, April 29, 2005

Menzel : - )

Not as catchy as "Bennifer," I guess... Hey there. Last day in the office before Mexico Trip, and I'll definitely be working this weekend. On the plus, Bart's invited me to a play reading in Brooklyn tomorrow night featuring Meryl Streep (pictured left). My ex Brian is in town to catch his brother-in-law Kelly in Julius Caesar with Denzel Washington, which I saw Wednesday (see yesterday's post). Coincidence: Both Meryl and Denzel have won two academy awards, one for a lead role, the other for a supporting role and - their last movie appearance was together, in "The Manchurian Candidate."

Elsewhere: Peter digs up some 19th century NYC history, while Thomas, in Brazil, shows off his tan. : - ) Here's a little Long Island humor:

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Thursday, April 28, 2005

Who Made The Salad?

Old 70s TV commercial reference there. What a thrill to see my pal Kelly Au Coin sharing a Broadway stage with Denzel Washington, playing Octavius Caesar to his Brutus in "Julius Caesar." It was a slightly surreal sensation, and Denzel seemed very life-sized, not the larger-than-life icon of the silver screen. He can certainly act, and he infused Brutus with brooding sobriety, and perhaps not enough passion to interprety a revolutionary zealot. Denzel's co-leads were far stronger - Colm Fiore as Cassius and Oz's Eamon Walker as Marc Anthony. Kelly was splendid as the cool, assured, emporer-in-waiting Octavius. The production itself was better than the reviews suggested - I liked the contemporary trappings (a mix of urban decay and Baghdad-esque debris) and the use of modern body language and intonation to get us quickly to the meaning of the dialogue while preserving Shakespeare's 17th century poetry intact. Too often watching Shakespeare I miss the meaning because the words fly faster than I can decode and absorb them - which is quite a statement given how many languages I understand.

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Wednesday, April 27, 2005


OK, maybe that's a little harsh. Critics consider Alphaville, Jean-Luc Godard's 1965 sci-fi/detective French new wave film a bona fide classic, but I felt lost, alienated, and distinctly unentertained. Sketchy plot, wooden dialogue, and stylized characters. It is good cinematography, turning 1960s Paris into a black-and-white dystopia. But it's way, way too artsy for casual entertainment. It was clearly made in an era when attention spans were longer and free time was abundant. But, still, I did enjoy Alan Resnais's "Hiroshima Mon Amour" and "Last Year At Marienbad," and even Godard's own "Breathless" - all of these were also poetic, artsy, and meandering. The difference is that they had heart - and characters that I cared about.

I'm still struggling with a mountain of work, ringing phones, impending deadlines, and severe eye strain. I'm planning a conference in Mexico next week, on a shoestring. I'll be there from Monday to Friday - It will be my 20th trip to Mexico, the first time I'll have been to any country 20 times. It will also be my 47th trip to Latin America, and my 88th foreign trip overall.


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Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Amidst a work avalanche & severe eye strain, I offer you a cartoon. Check out Thomas for gorgeous pictures of Colonial Paratí... I may post again later...

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Monday, April 25, 2005

I Can See Your House From Here!

Want to see your Mom's roof in Kalamazoo, MI? How about your Aunt Gertie's fire escape in Walla Walla, WA? Thanks to the miracle of Google Maps and satellite images, you can literally see a aerial snapshot of any house, street, or block in the US and Canada! Read about it in Newsweek. Or, go right to Google Maps (google.com/maps) and check it out! You can literally arrow your way across the United States by satellite, like a low-flying slow-motion airplane window seat. You can switch back and forth between a map and an image of the same location at any magnification level. In short: it's pretty nifty! Alas, I can't download or post these maps, or even copy the link. I'd have to show you personally on your PC. The image at left is a satellite map of Boston taken from a university, not from Google.


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Sunday, April 24, 2005

Yesterday was my late Dad's birthday. He would have been 69. In this photo, however, he's about 5... A poor kid from Dorchester, the Bronx of Boston.

April Shower Change Of Pace

Breaking routine is a lovely thing. April showers and sleepy-headedness didn't deter me from a few adventures yesterday, including a lovely lunch in, and walk through, Park Slope, with my friends Bart and Ashley, who live there. Bart made a sumptuous, melt-in-your-mouth pork tenderloin and topped that with a decadent fresh-from-the-oven chocolate souffle served with warm raspberry sauce. Much later, braving sheets of rain, I took in the melodic and talented Scotsmen pictured below, the Trash Can Sinatras, at the Mercury Lounge on E Houston St for an 11pm show.

The Trash Can Sinatras, pictured in front of guitarist John Douglas' Edinborough flat.

It was Emerson, a Brazilian friend of Thomas, who invited me to the show, with his NYC pal Howard in tow. And where better to grab a pre-concert bite, on E Houston, than Katz Deli, the century-old NY purveyor of pastrami sandwhiches and knishes where Meg Ryan had her unforgettable orgasmic moment in "When Harry Met Sally" back in 1989....


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Friday, April 22, 2005

From this week’s Onion, my favorite feature, “What Do YOU Think? …. But first, check out their hilarious slide show feature on the life of the late Pope John Paul II..

Question: “Most security personnel defend the use of Tasers, but Amnesty International said that there have been more than 100 Taser-related deaths since 2001. What do you think?”

(taser n. delivers a high-voltage, low-amperage charge that mimics the body's electrical signals, temporarily paralyzing the target from a range of 15-20 feet. )

Answer 1: "If you're a cop, deadly force is the last thing you want to use. However, if you're a really twisted cop, a weapon that leaves a suspect flopping about like an epileptic puppy is dead-bang perfect."
Answer 2: "People complain that getting hit by a Taser is really painful, but in reality it doesn't hurt until your hypothalamus starts working again."
Answer 3: "I only hope this controversy doesn't affect my soon-to-be-launched national family-fun franchise, Taser Tag."
Answer 4: "You wouldn't be complaining about Tasers if you had a rubber bullet lodged within inches of your heart like me."
Answer 5: "As a man who wears a thick-rubber gimp suit on his midnight visits to the nursing school, I have no problem with Taser use."
Answer 6: "Tasers are too much of a hazard. I guess the police will just have to go back to using tractor beams."

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Thursday, April 21, 2005

Meanwhile, Back In Cote D'Ivoire...

Most unusual is this Circular Mosque in Korhogo, Ivory Coast, pictured far left. Mosques typically face Mecca, but this one has no front side. Next, the pointy circular structures of a Wizard's House, also in Korhogo, Ivory Coast, where many 'magic' ceremonies are performed.. View the whole Ivory Coast Gallery.. I'm running so far behind today. It's so beautiful out, sun-drenched and gleaming, and today a delicious and brisk 55F, after yesterday's heady highs in the mid-80s....

See Thomas get messy....

Bleak Africa-Themed Political Cartoon (are there any non-bleak ones?):

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Wednesday, April 20, 2005

read about Pie Throwing, that great American tradition...


Saturday afternoon my guests and I checked out the vast glass-scapes and high ceilings of MOMA's new, improved, user-friendly building. Here's BBC's picture slide show of it. Three years in the making, and well worthing waiting for, I'm happy to report. Frankly, it's blocked out the memory of the old building, but I'd hazard a guess that exhibition space is probably doubled. Current exhibits include UBS's fabulous modern art collection and a multimedia look at reclaimed public spaces around the world. The ceilings are higher, and, alas, so is the admission, now $20 a head. No skin off my back for the moment, but isn't art supposed to be accessible to everyone?

Had a lovely dinner last night at Bottino, an intimate Italian eatery nestled at W 24th & 10th Ave, in the heart of the Gallery Archipelago.

My list of Netflix Friends grows, now 8 people strong, and Neftlix has fleshed out and enhanced the Friends feature, complete with quizzes on your friends' taste.

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Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Le Freak... C'est Chic...

Check me out on Peter's blog - a brunch photo with my visiting friends Erik & Matt.

Last night I finally saw all 66 minutes of Todd Browning's notorious 1932 film "Freaks," probably among the most controversial hours ever captured on celluloid. It's a dark, cautionary tale in which a 'normal,' beautiful female circus performer marries a circus dwarf for his money and then humiliates him. But there's a code of honor among the circus mis-shapen 'freaks', and they exact a terrible revenge. Browning used primarily real circus freaks with no acting background, achieiving a brutal realism that more than offset the flat performances. Here's a gallery of pictures and trivia from this movie. Hard to believe that this was produced by MGM, even pre-code. One extra bonus is insight into the marital, conjugal, issues faced by Siamese twins... : - )


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Monday, April 18, 2005

A Loung Time Coming

Monday is here, ending a lovely, sunny, interesting, and social weekend. I have fodder for a week of blog postings. Please enjoy some new work, then, from that luminary of nature/travel photography, the Ansel Adams of our time, QT Loung, who by day, works as a techie with Thomas' Dad in greater LA. Recently in Mexico, QT regales us with photos of Zacatecas (higlight below) and Guanajuato (wanna taco?) : - ) QT's link appears always on the left of my page as "Earth On Film"


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Sunday, April 17, 2005

Freud's Playwright Pal

Sigmund Freud often marvelled at the sharp psychological insights that his close friend, the great writer Arthur Schnitzler, also a Viennese Jew (far left), unearthed in his numerous plays and short stories. Last night we enjoyed the Mint Theater's excellent revival of Schnitzler's "Lonely Way," not seen in New York for 71 years.

Difficult family relationships, sexuality, our shifting needs and desires and the betrayals and compromises these imply... this was heady and groundbreaking material in Schnitzler's 1900-1925 heyday. And yet, he was the most prolific and popular German-language playwright of his day. Of course, he drew anti-semitic ire and was banned when Hitler annexed Austria 7 years after his 1931 death. Schnitzler's short story "Traumnovelle", incidentally, was the source material for Stanley Kubrick's "Eyes Wide Shut."

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Saturday, April 16, 2005

Spot On Sunny

What a lovely, sunny, breezy, warm spring weekend! I have friends in town, I saw a great concert last night (Ambluance Ltd at Northsix), and I just feasted on a brunch of Mexican French Toast - made with soft tortillas, orange creme, and banana.. It was exotic-licious.... I'm a happy camper....


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Friday, April 15, 2005

Pint-Sized Roommates : - )

And David leaps into the world of feline cohabitation... That's Pedro (the Lion) on the left, and Sati on the right. Sati momentarily seems to have the upper paw. Hello. world! It's very sunny here!

From this week’s Onion, my favorite feature, “What Do YOU Think?

Question: “In recent weeks, House Majority Leader Tom DeLay has come under increasing fire from a number of important media and political figures. What do you think?”

Answer 1: "I heard Tom DeLay's blood was in the water and the sharks were circling him, but unfortunately, it turned out to be a metaphor."
Answer 2: "There's a big difference between the letter of the law and the spirit of the law. Sure, he broke both, but there's a big difference."
Answer 2: "I'm telling you, if Tom DeLay would come out and say, 'Screw it, I'm just in it for the cash and the bitches,' his popularity would skyrocket. At the very least, he'd be in a Kid Rock video."
Answer 4: "Enough is enough. DeLay should do the honorable thing: take all the money he's cheated out of the American people, buy himself a nice mansion, and retire."
Answer 5: “Oh, come on. Like nobody in Congress has ever built a career out of borderline-illegal financial impropriety before. Grow up."
Answer 6: "Tom DeLay is an inspiration. His example has given me hope that my ethics violations will go ignored for years, as well."

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Thursday, April 14, 2005

No New Tale To Tell

Hey again, I'm just coming up from air. Intense week of work and moonlighting as a musical curator : - ) Brian's been helping me with some lovely musical finishing touches. Get ready for Aaron Spring! Looking forward to a fun long weekend - I'm taking tomorrow off, my friend Erik is visiting from Boston, and one of my new friends, Matt fm DC, is crashing with us as well.

Check out Thomas' electric shower heads from Brazil. Bzzz. And Peter's trip to a ghost town opera house. And Albuquerque's breast police. : - )


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Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Up Up With Off-Off

I love off-off-Broadway fare. Last night Bart and I saw three one-act plays at the soon-to-be-evicted Emerging Artists Theater Company on a soon-to-be-demolished stretch of Theatre Row on 42nd St between 9th and 10th Avenues. This 50-seat theater is on the fourth floor of a well-worn building. My friend Sam appeared in the second act, "Asteroid Belt", as the pajama-clad father of a college student approaching her death in a head-on car collision in excruciating slow motion. "Invisible," the third act, was a brief vignette about aging gay men with the fanciful premise that we become invisible to younger people when we hit 40. It was a cute statement on accepting life's passages and letting go, ten minutes was about the right length for it. Most interesting to go to a 7pm show and be home by 8:30pm, too. And no extra sleep to show for it....


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