Sunday, April 30, 2006

Cinematic Fever Puzzle

Long before Mulholland Drive, there was The Lady From Shanghai, Orson Welles' masterful descent into a maelstrom of shadowy depravity and duplicity, visually brilliant (see below), thematically complex, and endlessly inventive and clever. That's all I'm going to say. See it sometime if you haven't....

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Saturday, April 29, 2006

My friends Paul & Susan own a bed & breakfast in Corrales, New Mexico. It is decorated with original, specially-commissioned local artwork (see very blurry photo in the middle, below. Paul also purchased a thoroughly analog 'antique' pick-up truck from the early 1950s.

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Friday, April 28, 2006

From The Onion, my favorite feature, “What Do YOU Think?

Question: “Lt. Col. Marcos Pontes, the first Brazilian astronaut, is due to return from his brief mission tomorrow. What do you think?”

Answer 1: " I'm all for a Brazilian being sent into space, but that spacesuit left little to the imagination."
Answer 2: " I understand this is part of their greater plan to have a lunar favela by 2028. "
Answer 3: " I wonder how they decided who got to escape Brazil. "

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Thursday, April 27, 2006

Stand In The Place Where You Are

Now face West, and wonder why you haven't before. My eyebrow-raiser of the week is an airline-industry project to create 'standing seats' to save room and money on airplanes - passengers would simply be strapped against a perpendicular board. Have a lovely flight. Here's the Pasadena Star's a suitably skeptical editorial on this topic.

Pleasant surprise of the week: lovely dance remixes of the 'Brokeback Mountain' instrumental theme that will induce joy rather than cringing. Their biggest raison d'etre: 'The Wings,' clocking in at two minutes, goes by way too fast and isn't getting any other airplay.
Interestingly, composer Gustavo Santaolalla, one of the leading producers and mixers in Latin rock and pop, was not even consulted on the project..

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Wednesday, April 26, 2006

From The Onion, my favorite feature, “What Do YOU Think?

Question: Scientists have cloned pigs that are engineered to contain omega-3 fatty acids, which produce healthier pork. What do you think?

Answer 1: “"Can't they put some of that omega stuff in cigarettes."
Answer 2: " I don't eats 'em, I just rassles 'em."
Answer 3: " "I'll only be interested when they finally make pig-human hybrids. I could marry one and say, 'Woman! Make me some bacon!' Then she'd dutifully harvest my succulent breakfast."

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Tuesday, April 25, 2006

The Gateway Arch of St Louis, gateway to the West, as viewed from my hotel window last December as I criss-cross the country by car (avoid all asinine alliteration).

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Monday, April 24, 2006

Forty Nights and Forty Days?

Rain's been coming down pretty hard since Saturday. I did buy an umbrella.. But should I be building an ark?

From The Onion, my favorite feature, “What Do YOU Think?

Question: “Donald Rumsfeld is under pressure to resign, first by a cadre of retired generals, now by Senior Democrats for his handling of the war. What do you think?”
Answer 1: " As a daycare provider, I sympathize with Rumsfeld. 2,500 kids die on your watch and suddenly you're not qualified to do your job? "
Answer 2: " Strange thing is, internal records say he was fired three years ago."
Answer 3: " It's unfair. You don't go to war with the Secretary of Defense you want, you go to war the Secretary of Defense you have . "

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Sunday, April 23, 2006

This picture is of me and my Dad, back when my age was measured in months - he would have turned 70 years old today...

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Saturday, April 22, 2006

Pictures of Andres from December, when I visited him in Argentina. Here he is at home with his cat and outside on a sunny day...

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Friday, April 21, 2006

Here's Cleveland's Rock n' Roll Hall Of Fame, a pop culture museum, on a cold December morning during my mad rush across the country by car...

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Thursday, April 20, 2006

Slippin' Away

House guests, mega-projects, dental snafus... I'm rife with excuses for my skimpy postings... Maybe carrying around my flat cybershot camera will provide some inspiration... I can be a photoblogger, like Thomas, who, btw, just arrived last night on his way back from Brazil... Last night I saw 'Apollo 13,' the excellent dramatization of the three moon-bound astronauts we almost lost in space when I was 10... The previous week, I had seen 'The Right Stuff,' an even better film about the dawn of the space program, leading to the first men orbiting the Earth through the Mercury program when I was a toddler. In between, during my Nursery School and Kindergarten years, there was the 'Gemini' program, 10 two-man expeditions in 1965 and 1966 aimed at teaching us to dock and maneouver in space, in preparation for the Apollo moon landings. At age 6, after I had my tonsils out, I was able to stay home, eat sorbet, and have a 'double Gemini' experience - Gemini 6 and Gemini 7 (pictured) were sent up together so we could learn how to rendez-vous in outer space...

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Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Over-Reriance On Engrish

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Tuesday, April 18, 2006

More fractured Asian 'Engrish':

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Monday, April 17, 2006

Back in NY. Here's more fractured 'Engrish':

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Sunday, April 16, 2006

Happy Birthday In Four Movements

We took Mom out to a lovely seafood meal in Scotsdale last night and presented her with a heart-shaped necklace. That was Part 4 of the suprise, for which Parts 1-3 were Roses, Bagels, and My Surprise Visit...

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Saturday, April 15, 2006

Give Up Barking

I'm unlikely to : - ) It's a nice family weekend out here in Arizona - last night we had a scrumptious meal at 'Sauteé,' a new eatery with excellent food, but which is still working on logistics. Ah well, better late than never. My film festival continues. I should do four-word reviews:

Waiting to Exhale - Soapy Ebony Star Vehicle
Nashville - Colorful 70s Country Collage
In and Out - Clichés, Farce, Good Performances

And so on...

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Friday, April 14, 2006

It Worked

Mom was very surprised! We had a very happy reunion. My nephew is even taller and his hair is longer. My sister is walking again, at least for short distances, and driving beautifully (better than I ever will!). Tomorrow night we're taking Mom out for dinner in upscale Scotsdale. So I'll be here until Sunday - I got yesterday and today off, since all Latin America is shut down for Holy Week.

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Thursday, April 13, 2006

Just arrived in Arizona. In a few seconds am going to shock my Mom with this 70th birthday surprise. She has no idea that I'm here....

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Wednesday, April 12, 2006

It's been over three years since my last visit to Asia, I'd almost forgotten their delightfully oblivious misuse of English:

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Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Happiness Is A Warm Gun : -)

Over the weekend I saw "Red River," Howard Hawks' 1948 classic Western about a 'father-son' type struggle and a plan to lead 20,000 head of cattle over 1,000 from Texas, where they're worth almost nothing, to the beef-hungry Midwest. This is an interesting film to view for a gay man. While not exactly homo-erotic, the film's core is the love and sometimes hate bewteen a tough, autocratic loner (John Wayne) and his ward and quasi-on, a taciturn but softhearted young man who was orphaned as a boy in a horrific Indian raid on a wagon train (which thankfully happens offscreen - the raid, not the adoption). The young man is played by the brilliant Montgomery Clift, who was privately gay and led a tortured life, in his screen debut. Gay men will appreciate the notorious scene in which Clift and fellow sharpshooter John Ireland check out each other's guns with much wonder and admiration : - ).

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Monday, April 10, 2006

Soweto Shantytown Serenade

The blogger has been AWOL of late, recovering from the ups and downs of a rollercoaster deal that miraculously concluded on Friday.. It's springtime here in New York. April showers drenched my Saturday, but I did get to see "Tsotsi" with Christi at the Angelika Film Center on Houston & Mercer. This South African film, which promises and intense, sometimes painful, but ultimately enirching experience, walked away with the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar last month, and with good reason. This very personal and unusual story is based on Athol Fugard's prize-winning novel about a hardened thug whose heart begins to thaw - but it's a story told without sentimentality - it feels organic, with good story and character development, but no predictability. Set in the million-strong shantytown of Soweto, in the shadow of Johannesburg's skyscrapers (an African Rio de Janeiro, with no beach), and briefly in the home of an upper-middle-class black couple that wouldn't look out of place in the San Fernando Valley. The film's languages are Zulu, Xhosa, and Afrikaans, but it's impressive how many English expressions have seeped into the spoken lexicon of these characters. Finally, the soundtrack, a blend of traditional Xhosa & Zulu music and hip-hop, is a delight.

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