Wednesday, February 29, 2012


This day won't happen again until 2016 - what will the world look like then?


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Tuesday, February 28, 2012


Worked until 10pm last night and today will be rough, though hopefully shorter. Had to deal with an avalanche of earnings (writing up 5 when it can take 1-2 hours to figure out 1) plus 2 major unexpected news items.. It's the Mexican filing deadline day, companies wait until the last minute, creating this 'peak'. Look forward to having something to talk about besides work...Below, the Grand Canyon, for perspective : - )


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Monday, February 27, 2012

Something Old, Something New

Well, I'm 95% recovered, and that will have to be enough for the work marathon today, tonight, and tomorrow...
We stayed home all weekend, recovering and hiding from the cold. We did rent 'Moneyball,' a most interesting film that I'll comment later.. Now, even my baby sister is 48... Go Meryl Streep! Now 17 nominations and 3 wins, I was 23 when she one her last Best Actress Oscar... This means 'The Iron Lady' will be in theaters long enough for me to get around to seeing it... I actually wanted Viola Davis to win - what a terrific actress; you can see both these fine actresses in the excellent movie adaptation of 'Doubt,' by the way. Below, panoramic view of Mexico City's Modern Basilica (built 1974-1976) and its very tilted Leaning Ancient Basilica (built 1531-1709).

Trailer, 'The Iron Lady'...

Trailer, ' Doubt'....

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Sunday, February 26, 2012

Another V.I.B.

That is, Very Important Band. This week we feature The Rapture, a long-running NY-based band that led a post-punk revival in the earliest days of this millenium, but which also added into the mix genres as diverse as disco, classic rock, and acid house.
Our Song of the Week is the dramatic, plantive toe-tapper 'How Deep Is Your Love,' an original song light years away from the Bee Gees ballad whose name it shares.

To date, they've dropped three albums of well-crafted, highly listenable booty-shakers which are increasingly diverse, accomplished, impressive... and, now, even soulful..

In September they resurfaced with their first album in five years, and it's a stunner.. Rapture mastermind Luke Jenner wrote this set while still reeling from a family tragedy, and chose to lace his grooves with more feeling and less party-boy irony..

Here's 'How Deep Is Your Love,' live in Spin's offices...

Clip from their hypnotic, propulsive 2006 title track, 'Pieces of the People We Love...'

Also at Spin, The Rapture's 2006 scorcher 'Get Myself Into To It', with a vocal recalling both the The Police and Yes,

The early punky, but funky sludge of 'Sister Saviour' from 2003...

And finally, their screechy but memorably debut, 'House of Jealous Lovers,' on Letterman in 2003...

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Saturday, February 25, 2012

Brooklyn Bump

I saw many friends on Presidents' Day Weekend, which is fortunate, since I must spend this weekend relaxing and recovering, ahead of a killer work week of 'peak' earnings releases.
Sunday night we caught up with Marco and Janice and their 20-month-old son August over some tasty Vietnamese food. JP taught little August the 'fist bump', or 'Brooklyn Bump,' which we hear he's been repeating with this friends ever since! : -) It's looking like a 'cocoon weekend,' from which I will hopefully emerge, a butterfly. Below, the dome of the Mexico City's Old Basilica, discussed yesterday...

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Thursday, February 23, 2012

12 Hours of Sleep Later

P1000013It's just a headcold, but by yesterday afternoon I had become groggy to the point of incoherence. In a major push to get better before an avalanches of earnings releases next week, I left work at 4pm yesterday, went straight home, watched DVDs in bed until 8, and then slept for 12 hours. This morning I'm feeling quite a bit better. I predict an early bedtime tonight, tomorrow, Saturday, and Sunday...

Pictured left: interior of the Ancient Basilica of Guadelupe in Mexico City, located right next to the Modern Basilica and constrasting with the newer cathedral's bold mid-20th century architecture. More on that later...

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Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Professor Pop

Oo-boy, I've been flattened by the flu and am falling behind in Song of the Week...

This week, 'Believer,' a pretty but murky composition by composer/performer John Maus, a Minnesotan who draws from genres as diverse as new wave, shoegazing, and chamber pop. Maus studied seriously - BA in music at California Insitute of Art, with a focus on experimental music and performance art involving music. He also has a Phd in Philosophy from Switzerland! I love his album title: "We Must Become Pitiless Censors of Ourselves...' I discovered 'Believer' from Pitchfork Music's year-end best-of list, always a good final sweep to see if I missed something really good during the year.

His videos are great, not surprising for a concept artist like Maus - here's the kinetic, psychedelic video for 'Believer'...

Here's another John Maus composition, 'Streetlight', sent to footage from a 1981 film, 'Ms. 45'..

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Friday, February 17, 2012

Out Of This World

I can't stop thinking about 'Melancholia,' the heavy but stunning beautiful Lars Von Trier film that a friend and I viewed last night at quarter to 10 (on a school night!). Tonight, I will sleep 11 hours; JP went to Maine for a few days...
'Melancholia' has a dream-sequence prologue and two parts - first, in a spectacular castle, a wedding celebration slowly ruined by a deeply depressive bride, and second, weeks later, the bride and her family in the same castle, in the days before a mystery planet may pass by the Earth - or crash into it and destroy it.

The movie's two central themes both intrigue me: chronic depression and the end of the world. It's not a 'feel-good' movie but it's an engaging, insightful, and aesthetically beautiful work. The acting is spectacular, led by Kristin Dunst who won a well-deserved Best Actress in Cannes for this last year; other standouts include Charlotte Gainsburg (see Song of the Week - April 5, 2010!), Kiefer Sutherland, John Hurt, and Brady Corbet ('Mysterious Skin', 'Martha Marcy May Marlene').

Watch the trailer!

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Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Marc Bolan Reincarnated?

For Valentine's Day, I offer you a mix of T Rex glam rock, with that band's sleazy, swampy come-on ambience but also with crisp production - it's 'I'm a Man,' by Canadian singer/songwriter Mac DeMarco, an artist so new that we know almost nothing about him (making him an easy, quick blog posting!). I heard him on Pitchfork, which called him a 'Vancouver garage-pop upstart' and featured tracks in advance of his debut, 'Rock n Roll Night Club,' next month. (He's actually from Edmonton originally).

His label says: the anti-thesis to your stereotypical singer-songwriter. Disregarding the seriously somber moments, he replaces them with whimsical and youthful spontaneity, whilst retaining the endearing and subtle commentaries that exude his familiarity. DeMarco’s a weird cat whose most impressive trait is his undeniable and instinctual ability to compose magical pop jangles, of which he’ll likely refer to as 'jizz jazz' with no distinct origin. "

His label photo (right) plays up the glam rock image. I suspect T Rex's late Marc Bolan is smiling somewhere..

There's no clip for 'I'm a Man,' but his single, 'Only You,' has a memorable video, check it out below:

For your convenience, the YouTube for 'I'm a Man,' with just a still photo for imagery...

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Monday, February 13, 2012

First Comes Love!

I'm going to make JP a romantic Valentine dinner tomorrow - I think chicken in wine sauce, brussels sprouts in lemon-carraway, and honeyed carrots, with candlelight, jazz, and lots of love.... Here we are near Teotihuacán having lunch served in lava...

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Feeling Groovy

My test results came back and my medicine is working remarkably well, with a sharp drop in my 'bad' cholesterol level to 100, comfortably below the 130 limit. Dr Fisher is a total sweetheart for leaving me that message on a Sunday afternoon.

I also had a pear for dessert with lunch, and sorbet after dinner, and will continue exercising 4 times a week and eschewing the elevator in favor of walking up and down my ten flights of stairs. Over and out!

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Sunday, February 12, 2012

The Great Equalizer

I've always considered myself fortunate to have inherited good health genetics from my Mom - no history of cancer or heart disease, and a long tradition of ninety-year-plus lifespans..

The first indication to the contrary that I've encountered is my surprisingly high level of cholesterol (pictured leaft), the legacy of my father's family...

Now, I eat fairly well and exercise frequently - I even walk up 10 flights to my apartment rather than right the elevator. My doctor has placed me on Simvastatin, an anti-cholestrerol medicine..

So.... No more chicken skin! I should even eat ice cream more sparingly... That's the way the chromosome crumbles!

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Saturday, February 11, 2012

Could Mom And Dad Have Seen This?

They were probably too busy diapering me in 1960 to catch 'Let's Make Love,' a musical that pairs Marilyn Monroe with Yves Montand and features brief appearances by Milton Berle, Bing Crosby, and Gene Kelly (to teach Yves comedy, singing, and dancing, respectively...)
We saw this on Thursday Night at Clearview Classics across the street, which is hosted by that greenest of drag queens, Hedda Lettuce.. Here's the film's trailer:

and here's Hedda singing 'Drag Queen Blues'

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Friday, February 10, 2012

Chico and the Woman

I really want to see this other Latin American tale, a non-violent, romantic, evocative romance set in 1948 Cuba and New York, called 'Chico and Rita'.... Check out this preview...

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The Via Crucis of Mexico...

I can't stop thinking about 'Miss Bala,' a gripping tale from the front of Mexico's horrific drug wars, with a beauty contestant who becomes collateral damage.. Not to be missed...

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Thursday, February 09, 2012

Bala Means Bullet

My stamina proved insufficient to withstand a weeknight bite & movie without suffering a major headache.. Happily Advil works fairly well on me..

The film 'Miss Bala,' pictured left, was as impressive as the rave reviews promised..."first-rate art-house thriller'... 'harrowing, superbly made drama..' ...'could be called contemporary picaresque if it weren't so deadly serious'...

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Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Memories of Grandeur...

How brown was my valley. How green, my tally... Another week in Santa(nder)'s workshop... Pictured here is JP at the Grand Canyon over the holidays...

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Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Through The Wringer

Another grueling week, it's raining earnings releases & corporate news, too much to process, two big presentations this week, I am feeling the stress...

Tomorrow night, though, I may catch a film at Angelika with John W that's getting great notices. 'Miss Bala,' a harrowing Mexican film about drug violence and a beauty pagaent contestant who become collateral damage.

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Monday, February 06, 2012

Late And Great

I was sad last year to see the passing of that great songwriter-poet-revolutionary Gil Scot-Heron, who won my heart with his 70s classics, 'The Bottle' and 'Whitey's On The Moon.' Today's musical treat, 'I'll Take Care of You,' is Jamie XX's semi-housefied take of a lovely cover version from Scot-Heron's last album of a 1960 soul ballad by Brook Benton.

Socially conscious, musically inventive, and widely influential decades after his time, I salute you, Mr Gil Scot-Heron. Scot-Heron was born in Chicago in 1949 to an opera singer, Bobbie Scott and a Jamaican soccer player, Gil Heron.

Jamie XX, by the way, is the 'nom de groove' of Jamie Smith, a UK-based music producer, remix artist, and member of the London-based band, the XX (whose song 'Islands,' covered by Shakira, was Song of the Week almost a year ago this week!)

Here's the 'I'll Take Care of You' clip..

And now, a pair of classics. First, in its 1970s K-Tel glory, with flute and bongos, "The Bottle":

My funny bone and moral indignation are both tickled by 'Whitey's On The Moon,' Scot-Heron's take on 'We can put a man on the moon, but we can't.....'

Finally, 'The Revolution Will Not Be Televised,' both an angry cry and a scathing early 1970s pop-culture kaleidoscope ....

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Sunday, February 05, 2012

So Much To Chew On!

I was riveted by the Oscar-nominated Iranian film 'The Separation,' and had no idea where it was headed - high compliments from this moviegoer. This afternoon Christi and I saw it at Film Forum and I'll be chewing over the film in my mind for some time, I imagine.

It's much more of a personal than a political film, though see Iranian middle-class urban life is undeniably an exotic experience. It's also a very observant movie about male-female relationships, family and professional ties, and justice, in an Iranian context. That's enough said; the trailer will give you a feel for what awaits you...

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Saturday, February 04, 2012

Dona Flor and Her Two Husbands

JP & I watched an old favorite film of mine, the 1976 Brazilian classic 'Dona Flor and Her Two Husbands,' the most popular film in Brazilian history (based on its biggest best-seller of the day).

Set in 1940s Bahia in Northeastern Brazil, this charmer follow the beautiful and long-suffering Dona Flor through two very different marriages - to a passionate but dissolute gambling rake and then a staid but stalwart and protective pharamacist.. Not to be missed...

Here's the original trailer, with no subtitles but with lots of atmosphere...

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Friday, February 03, 2012

Experimenting Again!

JP & I finally both have working cameras, which should give this blog quite a boost!

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Thursday, February 02, 2012

The Long, Long Life of Betty White

Betty White, this year's 90-something celebrity, was a television pioneer, with several sitcoms in the earliest days of the small screen...

Here she is with her husband, Allen Ludden, who hosted the game show 'Password'; They met when she was a celebrity guest on that show...

Below, a vintage clip of from 1966 of White and Ludden appearing on Merv Griffin. Ludden was teasing her about her age, which goes to show that it's all relative....

I was a first-grader in Springfield, Massachusetts at the time....

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Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Days of Sick

I guess I overdid it in Connecticut.

I am major sick - sleep 12 hours, work, sleep 12 hours...

It must run its course...

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