Sunday, January 31, 2010

Aaron Turns 50!

Sunil surprised me with a scrumptious fruit tart cake!

The birthday boys, 2010! Sunil's birthday is today, January 31, and David's is Wednesday February 3.

Setting the stage for a luminous, colorful evening...

Happily coupled! A beautiful way to live one's life... It certainly takes the edge off hitting the half century mark...

This creamy, nutty mocha masterpiece from Dean & DeLuca's set me back a pretty penny...

The gang's all here. Friends of all stripes rolled in and out for the party's seven hour duration...

Aaron certainly hasn't lost his youthful spirit!

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Aaron Had A Very Happy Birthday

What a great party! Pictures later today....

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Saturday, January 30, 2010

Happy Birthday to Me!

How sweet it is! I'm ready for another half-century!

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Friday, January 29, 2010

Look Down

When we saw 'Piaf' last Friday in Buenos Aires, we sat way up in the rafters, on the side, facing sideways, not facing the stage... If you looked down, you saw a plethora of heads, blonde, brunette, grey, and bald...

Close to the ceiling, we admired the frescos... These grainy photos were taken secretly with my iPhone - of course, in a theater we shutterbugs are persona non grata...

Across from us, looking down, people seated in the sideways loge. We are the rubberneckers, hear us roar..

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Thursday, January 28, 2010


Semi-tasteless, nonetheless
quite funny...

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Wednesday, January 27, 2010


From a Buenos Aires building, distinctly local use of material and pattern... Photos are so clear on a sun-drenched day with a decent camera (vs my iPhone)...

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Turn Around, Bright Eyes...

Among 2009's most
popular and hilarious homemade videos, this 'literal' approach to 'Total Eclipse of the Heart' shows you what would ensue if the song lyrics matched what was actually happening in the song's video clip..

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Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Buenos Armor

Down Argentine way,
I went photo-hunting on a resplendent summer Saturday.. How shiny and bright is the city's armor, the intercoms that stand guard at its manifold apartment buildings..

House signs bear that ye olde cute imprint. This street is pronounced 'TA-MACE,' and is found in
the charming erstwhile enclave of middle-classness that is Palermo.. Geographic names abound in this area, with nary a country or river in the Americas not immortalized in a street address.

With the symmetry of an Arab monument or a 5-7-5 haiku, we close our post with the intercom system and the end of our one-hour walk through the Buenos Aires summer heat...

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Monday, January 25, 2010

Anchovy Time!

They're an acquired taste, to be sure, but one well worth acquiring.

Towering over a pantheon of amazing indie musicians working out of Williamsburg are Dirty Projectors, the experimental rock quartet led by Dave Longstreth that last year served up 'Bitte Orca,' a stunning, endlessly creative foray into prog-rock and even 90s r&b...

Case in point, today's Song of the Week, "Stillness Is The Move," is an off-kilter but infectious slice of spare r&b female vocal and funk...

Imagine, if you will, Mariah Carey sentenced to do community service by providing vocals for Nigerian juju music legend King Sunny Adé....

...and yet it really works as late 90s r&b... Mariah could indeed have taken its left-field rhythm and plaintive wail to the music charts' upper stratosphere.. (though la Carey's had no trouble doing that on her own of late...) It's ultimately very infectious, one of 2009's most memorable musical moments...

here's the very arty, cinematic clip for 'Stillness Is the Move'....

Here's a second helping, the soft yet exotic 'No Intention'...

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Sunday, January 24, 2010

That's Rio Out That Window

It just blurred by as a day trip Monday, five hours and two meetings. I snapped this shot of Rio's iconic Sugar Loaf mountain, from whose tropical heights I have marveled at the views, on my iPhone through the taxi's side window..

...and through its front window, as the sun poke tentatively through the clouds..

I got home this morning, back to the arms of my sweetheart...

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Saturday, January 23, 2010

No, I Regret Nothing...

I guess I didn't come here to sleep...

Hey all, I'm flying home tonight. I finally crossed the finish line at 6pm last night, completing my 25th & final interview.

Later, I met up with Andres and he took me to see 'Piaf,' not a musical but a serious play about a singer that includes singing. 

Translated and adapted from a 1978 London stage play, the result was immediate, powerful, bawdy, searing, and gritty. 

It was as much a tour de force live for Elena Roger, the Argentine lead, as the movie 'La Vie En Rose' was for Oscar-winner Marion Cotillard 3 years back.

It's summer here, high around 90F, with a breeze, and the sun sets at 10pm. Buenos Aires is a lovely, lovely place to be. If it weren't for missing JP I'd be sad to leave. If it weren't for our jobs, I'd ask him to fly down and hang out a few weeks...

Anyway, back to Piaf & Elena Roger..  Below some snippets from YouTube..

Here are snippets from the show and interview, mostly in English as the director, Jamie Lloyd, was imported from the UK.

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Friday, January 22, 2010

The Finish Line

Yesterday was very long, and today won't be much shorter. Our flight from Brazil was delayed, landing us in Buenos Aires at 11pm and me in bed past midnight. 

As I munch my All-Bran and slug my coffee I'm contemplating a full day of five long interviews, and in the evening Andres is taking me to a play about Edith Piaf, and has chosen the 10:30 show : - (. I may sleep until noon tomorrow.

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Thursday, January 21, 2010

15 Meetings Down, 10 To Go

One more long day of meetings and tomorrow night an evening flight to Buenos Aires. 

Tonight was social night, I went out for dinner and drinks (mostly white wine) with my colleague and client to 'A Figueira,' a lovely, very popular restaurant built around a giant fig tree in a courtyard. 

I had the 'treasure chest' of seafood & rice...

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Wednesday, January 20, 2010

The Wee Hours

In Brazil, working like the dickens. Was up to midnight last night study companies and current deals. For your entertainment, here's a very rudimentary Brazilian lunch I grabbed on a side street in Rio on Monday - black beans, rice, some roasted chicken. The black beans were made from scratch, and really melted in my mouth, and were perfectly flavored...

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Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Think Pink, Pt 2

While I'm away on business in Brazil, JP has re-painted our bathroom in a new color!

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Monday, January 18, 2010

Steal His Song, Then Send Him A Valentine :-)

It's time to Party Like It's 2009 - or perhaps 1980 - with today's Song of the Weke, Chicago-based DJ/producer Felix da Housecat's 'We All Want To Be Prince. It's a spare, danceable tribute of a song that reaches back three decades and damn nearly plagiarizes the title track of The Purple One's seminal 1980 album 'Dirty Mind.'

Ceci n'est pas une video. It's just a picture of a turntable on YouTube, with the music of Felix da Housecat's 1995 track 'B4 Wuz Then.' Decent dance track, but nowhere near the heights of 'We All Wanna Be...'

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Sunday, January 17, 2010

Safe, Sound & Busy

Hey there - arrived 10:30 am in Sao Paulo, Brazil, safe, sound, and miraculously well-slept considering my miniscule coach seat. Even better, about 80% of my cold is gone. 

It only took 2 hours to get out of the airport, mostly due to a long line at customs, so that one very slow clerk could stamp 6,000 forms without looking up... : - ) The taxi line was similarly arduous. Hey, it's not they're fault.. It's not like they all knew our flights were arriving... : - )

At left, the aerial view of Sao Paulo, which like most of this week's photos is taken from my friend Emerson Gibin's 'I Love Sao Paulo' set on Flickr.   It's summer here but it's not sunny at all today.  That's somewhat OK, since I have hours and hours of work to do here in my hotel room...

Sao Paulo jostles with Tokyo, New York and Mexico City for the title of world's largest urban area.  These are so far the only metro areas with more than 20 million people, although I expect that within ten years, Shangai, Delhi, Bombay, and Calcutta may close in, having hit the 15 million mark.   Metro Buenos Aires is practically a small village with only 12 million people..  

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Saturday, January 16, 2010

Once More Into The Breech...

..but not once more onto the beach, even though I'll be in Brazil, in their summer, and even in Rio (as a day trip from Sao Paulo for five meetings...)

This is my 121st foreign trip, believe it or not, and my 26th trip to Brazil, my 2nd most frequently visited country (the champ is Mexico, 28 times..). I leave for Brazil tonight and get to Sao Paulo tomorrow morning, where I'll be, mostly, until Thursday.

Then it's off to for a 21st tango with my third-most visited nation, Argentina, as I arrive in Buenos Aires for meetings Friday, then to hang out with friends Friday evening and Saturday daytime before leaving Saturday night to arrive home sweet home Sunday morning the 24th. I do have to work on the MLK holiday, but at least it's work in Rio..

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Friday, January 15, 2010

Assembly Desired

JP & I bought a bevy of bookcase, but they need to be built. JP's been doing the heavy assembling, while I move things and vacuum.
It's a bit of a housequake, as we reconfigure this place as our joint home... This photo, taken in a Mesa, Arizona sushi restaurant two years ago, has nothing to do with furniture assembly..

On the same trip,
I observed first-hand that my sister's whites are, indeed, whiter than white. :-)

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Thursday, January 14, 2010

Think Pink!

Feels so gay, feels so bright. From the 1957 musical 'Funny Face,' the under-appreciated talents of Kay Thompson...

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Cactus Rot

DSC04154What a grueling work week ahead of my trip!

Yesterday, that was compounded by a frantic hop to the Israeli Consulate and FedEx with papers to expedite my late aunt's will.

Thankfully, I'm still in much better shape than this succulent.

I did get to see a play Tuesday night, 'Loaded,' about two gay men, one middle-aged and one young, matching wits as they dance around the idea of progressing from sex to a relationship. More on that later...

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Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Occur In Nature

Do marshmallows?
What are marshmallows, anyway? The marshmallow is a confection that, in its modern form, typically consists of sugar or corn syrup, water, gelatin that has been softened in hot water.... These marshmallows are the topping of my sister's Thanksgiving sweet potatoes...

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Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Dividers They Stand

On Friday night JP & I saw the wonderful Japan Society retrospective of textile designer and visionary Keisuke Serizawa.
IMG_0056 IMG_0053IMG_0055
This stunningly beautiful exhibit's highlight are 'Noren,' Japanese fabric dividers that decorate homes and are hung between rooms, on walls, in doorways, or in windows.
IMG_0054IMG_0051 IMG_0052

Before the 20th century, Noren were used in Japanese shops and restaurants as protectin from sun, wind, and dust, and for advertising space. Shopkeepers also used these as an 'open for business' sign, taking them down at closing time.

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Monday, January 11, 2010

Love Is A Many-Splendored Thing

Happy Anniversary, my sweetheart...

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Edgy One Day, Schmalzy The Next...

SOTW’s Rule of Radio Pop is as follows: I like it for stylistic variety, but you don’t need me to supply what you already hear – and by ‘you’ I mean my US audience.

My foreign audience is well aware that I regularly rob the European pop charts with the likes of Mika, Estelle, and Scissor Sisters.

Today’s artist, 36-year old British singer Robbie Williams, is a household word in the UK and Europe as a red hot, misbehaving boy-band refugee whose up-tempo numbers are adventurous, contrasting sharply with the schmaltz of his balladry.

It’s the former that provides our weekly song, ‘Bodies,’ with unusual structure, memorable melody, and outrageous anthemic chorus that cries ‘all we’ve ever wanted / is to look good naked / hope that someone can take it…. God save me rejection / from my reflection / I want perfection…’

Williams spent half a decade as 1/5 of Take That!, a UK boy band wildly popular in Europe, and unheard of here, but which nonetheless inspired the US imitations which you’ve heard to saturation (Backstreet Boys, ‘N Sync)…

Let's walk through the edgier, colorful side of Williams' top ten oeuvre (28 UK hit singles including six #1s!), as captured on video, starting with 'Bodies':

From 2000, the wild club thomper 'Rock DJ' in which he tears off his muscular system and tosses it to the masses...

From 1998, the lilting 'Millenium,' built on the violin riff from 'You Only Live Twice,' the late-60s James Bond theme originally composed by John Williams and sung by Nancy Sinatra.

Finally, 'Radio' from 2004, of which the video features masked cheerleaders, lizard eyes, and a snake emerging from Williams' trousers...

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Sunday, January 10, 2010

Do No Wrong?

Can. Meryl. Assemble. Am I getting lazy, or is working all day Sunday addling my brain.. For the answer to these and other questions...

I saw 'It's Complicated,' the hit comedy in which Meryl Streep plays a Santa Barbara pastry-shop owner embarking on an extramarital affair with her own ex-husband, played with wicked bravado by Alec Baldwin, while flirting with Steve Martin's shy architect recovering from his own marital implosion. Casting Streep in this Hollywood comedy is like giving Rembrandt a coloring book - you're bound to get above-average results given her endless virtuosity and limitless range...

I liked this more than I expected to based on the trailer and director Nancy Myers' previous 60-something faux-feminist sex comedy, 'Something's Gotta Give.' Yes, I laughed at 'Gotta Give' and I adore every wrinkle of Diane Keaton's geniune, talented, expressive face, but I felt Keaton's character was too weak and felt aghast that she ultimately chose Nicholson's messy unreliable macho idiot over the much cuter and better-behaved Keanu Reeves.

Happily, Meryl Streep's character brings brains and depth to the table as well as needs and hormones. You can't tell where this movie's headed, and I like that. This film manages to combine emotional honesty and screwball comedy, and is well worth two hours of your time..
Special honors to John Krasinski for superb double takes as the fiancé of Streep's & Baldwin's older daughter, and for the authenticity shown by the three young actors playing their grown children (pictured above left with Streep & Martin, the cutie on the right beign Hunter Parrish of 'Weeds' fame).

Here's trailer #2... the use of Crosby, Stills & Nash's 'Suite Blue Eyes..' is a nice touch. and a snippet of 'History Repeating' by Propellerheads & Shirley Bassey, a lovely 1997 retro tune I'll post later this week...

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Saturday, January 09, 2010

I'm Insight: Fly Me

'Up In The Air' was my final movie of 2009 and it did not disappoint.

This film achieves that rarest of hat tricks: it is philosophical and insightful but also engaging and entertaining.

George Clooney stretches his boundaries and shows the psyche behind the sardonic smile as a man whose job embodies alienation: a professional downsizing hatchet-man perpetually on the road, literally 'up in the air.'

Vera Farmiga and Anna Kendrick (more about these ladies later on) deliver killer performances as two women who, in different ways, manage to penetrate Clooney's airtight existence. The result is a story that's both specific and universal, and very timely. Required viewing, in my opinion..

I'm deliberately not giving much away here, in the spirit of Trailer #1 (bottom). For that purpose, please watch Trailer #3 first. : - )

Mysterious, intriguing Trailer #1:

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