Friday, October 31, 2008

Halloween on Friday Night in Chelsea... My brethren and sisthren out in droves on a clear, cool night, while I, slightly under the weather, retire early and prepare for my own Halloween moment on the morrow...

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Thursday, October 30, 2008

What a crazy 24 hours. A lost wallet, a work obstacle course, a rickshaw ride, an amazing show (Spring Awakening), and Obama slowly but surely approaching the finish line...

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Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Gets You In Gut (In A Good Way)

'Rachel Getting Married' is one for the ages - an incisive, cathartic tale of Kym, a troubled, semi-damaged soul sprung out of rehab for her sister Rachel's wedding, which brings long-buried angst to the surface.

Kym is indelibly incarnated by Anne Hathaway (pictured far left), whose depth and talent have clearly been heretofore under-utilized. Rosemary DeWitt (pictured near left) is formidable as Rachel, who refuses to allow Kym's neediness center stage at her moment. The background is a boisterous, multicultural music-fest of a wedding weekend, courtesy of the musician groom, his band members, and his family.

The back story, revealed gradually in mid-film, packs quite a wallop, and makes us evolve in how we view the characters and they ways they've coped with tragedy and its painful, messy wreckage. The movie is unflinching and refuses a tidy, happy ending, but it's not a downer, all in all. Partly because it's cathartic, partly because of the felicitous pairing of the bride and groom and everyone's sincere joy in their union. The entire cast is superb, including Debra Winger as the estranged mother of Rachel and Kym.

That the groom is African-American is, appropriately, a non-issue - he's a real singer, by the way, Tunde Adimbempe of the wonderful TV On The Radio, who provided our exciting Song Of The Week back on September 29 - click here to enjoy their joyous music on my page. Who knew he could act? And the guest musicians - Sister Rose, Robyn Hitchcock - only Jonathan Demme could direct a movie with this soundtrack that draws equally on Bergman, 'The Celebration', and 'Stop Making Sense...'

Watch the trailer! Then see the movie... It's Friday, ferchrissake...

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Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Sunday In The Park With Deena

My sister Deena's visiting, and Sunday we caught a last glimpse of Autumn sun in Central Park...

We were sketched, most flatteringly, by a sidewalk artist on Central Park South...

We rode in a horse and buggy...

Deena got her patriotic groove on with a tall green lady...

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Denis on CNN

Very briefly, for about 15 seconds in this 3-minute feature shot at Art Curial auction house, where he works, about how the financial crisis is affecting demand for auctioned off 'grand cru...'

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Monday, October 27, 2008

I'm Goin' Undergound (whump whump whump)....

Today's Song/Video of the week makes me just gooey with late adolescent pleasure.

It's 1979 again and yet it's today, too.

Das Pop of Belgium, not even born during my teen years, contributed 'Underground,' a pop-disco nugget that bristles with late 70s energy and atmosphere - the guitar band is seasoned with swirling squeaky strings and a horn section - and that's delivered in a very pop-friendly 3:13 burst...

Formed in Ghent - in the Flemish north of Belgium - these early-twentysomething are delightfully retro. Their names sound Flemish too - Niek Meul, Lieven Moors, and Bent Van Looy...

Here's the delightful 'Underground' clip...

One more from Das Pop.. 'Try Again' live at Les Ardentes..

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Sunday, October 26, 2008

The Many Faces of Utila Island

At Latin America's doorstep, slightly offshore of Honduras, is a spot of Caribbean culture... Where we stayed on Utila Island.. I was in the brown wooden cabin with the stairs with Erik... A charming Caribbean couple ran the joint, eternally seated on lawn chairs.

From the sublime.... Utila has almost as many churches as bars, most of them non-Catholic..

...to the ridiculous... Utila is famed for its water sports... Smells fairly nice though...

Here's a 'fixer-upper'....

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Saturday, October 25, 2008

First Glimpse of a Caribbean Island

Land a-hoy! About 90 minutes after setting sail from La Ceiba on the Northern Coast of Honduras, we catch a glimpse of Utila, the smallest and cheapest of the three Bay Islands..

The Bay Islands, discovered by Columbus in 1502, were fought over and alternatively controlled by Britain, Spain, and Holland. Britain won in 1642 and held the islands until 1860, when Honduras finally got the British to leave. Over 148 years later, the island seem visually and culturally more Caribbean than Latin America...

Here's a map.. We stayed at the tiny island on the left, Utila...

Little did I suspect, sailing into this beautiful harbor, than I was going to have to carry my massive, overweight dufflebag over a mile in the dark to our hotel, dodging minibikes...

Here's the monster, in case you've forgotten... Boy, do I wish I'd packed less!

I don't think were in Kansas anymore...

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Not even an Army of Pecs can save McCain now...
....and the paint's kind of blocking the view....

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Friday, October 24, 2008

Happy Birthday, Fernando!

A huge Happy Birthday hug to my good friend Fernando, one of the smartest, nicest, most interesting friends a fellow could want. He looks so young, too.. Here he is on the plains of Patagonia...

Here is brightening up one of my parties...

And on the streets of New York with his boyfriend, Sunil. That's Emerson in the background...

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The Candidates: Modern Transportation

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Thursday, October 23, 2008

The Candidates: Modern Communication

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Wednesday, October 22, 2008

My sister's visiting tomorrow!

Endless Summer

Finally, a moment to breathe and post more vacation photos...
We left Tegucigalpa, Honduras at dawn for an 8-hour van ride north to the Caribean. Here are Tegucigalpans waiting for a bus...

At La Ceiba on the North coast of Honduras, we quickly boarded the ferry that would take us two hours deep into Caribbean waters and coral reef, headed for Utila, cheapest of the famed Bay Islands..

Tired from our early rise and long journey, many fellow travelers rested on the ferry, including Erik, pictured center...

Others, like me, couldn't take their eyes off the blue view...

Endless blue...

Endless view.... Tomorrow, we arrive at Utila at sunset...

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Tuesday, October 21, 2008

The Boy Wonder

I just remembered one of Robin's favorite insults to The Penguin:

"You pompous, waddling master of foul play!"

 I love saying that...  Here's Burt Ward, the actor who played Robin in the 60s TV series, obviously up past his bedtime...

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Monday, October 20, 2008

Folkie Dokey

It's very sunny here, with a delicious dollop of irony.

Today's Song/Video of the week is '5 Years Time,' an irresistible gem from UK folk-rock quintet Noah and The Whale.

Imagine a 60s folk-pop nugget with south-of-the border rhythm, new wave irony, whistling, and a fiddle. It's clever as heck, and very endearing.

The group hails from London's Twickenham district and took their name from the director and title of a favorite film, Noah Baumbach's 'The Squid and The Whale,' a wonderful little movie if you ain't seen it yet.. They are very influenced by Belle & Sebastian, who are WAY overdue for a new album following their 2006 masterpiece, 'The Life Pursuit.'

The group's videos are goofy, retro, and wonderful. Here's the one clip of '5 Years Time' that hasn't been dis-embedded by the record company...

Here's their other UK hit single, the equally charming 'Shape of My Heart'...

One more: '2 Bodies 1 Heart'

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Sunday, October 19, 2008

That's All, Folks!

Wowee Powell! I think this should nail it. Maybe Obama can win without my looking at the latest polls every 15 minutes.. : - )

Somebody's getting ready to sing, folks

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Saturday, October 18, 2008

Unfortunate ad placement (from NYT humor page)

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This is just too funny: It's the only debate from the 1966 mayoral campaign of Gotham City. Batman vs The Penguin!

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Friday, October 17, 2008

Don't worry, I haven't gone back to pointless, incessant barking... : - ) Just having a busy and stressful week, which is almost over!

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This is a building I like in Brazil by Ruy Ohtake. It's the Renaissance Hotel, where I've stayed several times and recently hosted a conference... 
I have a sore throat again... : - (

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Thursday, October 16, 2008

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Dead Cat Bounce

That's one of my
favorite expressions used by bond and stock traders... It means to beware when the market rebounds after a big drop, because "even a dead cat will bounce when dropped from a great height."

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Wednesday, October 15, 2008

How I feel at work this week...  Abacus is with one 'b'...

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Tuesday, October 14, 2008

I just worked 10 hours, finishing up at 2:45am, and still only 75% complete. You need stamina on Her Majesty's not-so-secret service...

My post will be very late today....

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Monday, October 13, 2008

Update: I'm now working for the British government, as of this weekend. Details to follow.

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Something Old, Something New

Today's Song/Video of the week, Little Jackie's "The World Should Revolve Around Me," is a rich and catchy Motown/60s-influenced song infused with very contemporary attitude.

American pop duo Little Jackie consists of Long Island-born singer Imani Coppola (no relation to the film-making family) and DJ-programmer Adam Pallin.

'World Should Revolve' is already a modest hit in the UK...

Here's the video clip of 'World Should Revolve'...

Here they are live at Central Park Summerstage in August with the equally 'Guys Like When Girls Kiss.'

And here's Jackie shaking it live, singing '28 Butt's at the Roxy Theater in Los Angeles...

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Sunday, October 12, 2008


Saturday Night Live's parody of Joe Biden discussing his humble roots had him call Scranton a 'hell-hole,' 'an absolute jerkwater of a town' and 'just an awful, awful sad place'. These epithets are flattering compared to our tour leader's view of Tegucigalpa, capital of Honduras. She implored us not to venture forth into the sprawling, chaotic, downscale urb set in a volcano valley. I thought, in the words of my first boyfriend, that 'she was exagger-ATING'... Here's a view from the hotel rooftop, where we had a pizza party... Yum, my favorite food... : - )

I was quite fascinated by the endless tangle of above-ground telephone and electricity wire...

I took a late afternoon walk around the 'hood, and noticed that several businesses, even when open, were protected by bars, gates, or glass.

Still, I did see some life on the sidewalks.. These people look both un-threatening and un-threatened... In the interest of fair play and equal time, I may have to insert a post this week showing what's good about Tegus, as the locals affectionately call it...

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Columbus said the deep blue sea / In fourteen-hundred and ninety three. Not! (that's from 'Lost In Space') Below is some film commentary... Check back here at 3pm New York time for more Central America pictures....

You Thaid Barthelona, and I Thaid Yeth

That title references some particularly wooden dialogue from Woody Allen's 'Interiors' and is a long-running joke I have with Brian. I'll happily explain it to anyone who asks...

Last night I saw Allen's Vicky Christina Barcelona, in theater, with my friend Doug. It's a serious and often funny tale of conflicting sexual and emotional need and exploration, mis-matches, and intrigue. It abounds with well-fleshed out characters and is filmed in sun-drenched, modernist, multifaceted Barcelona.

I was pleasantly surprised to see Allen explore new territory and, frankly, interest himself in how people actually live, talk, think, and act in 2008 rather than 1978. 'VCB' is deftly acted by a talented ensemble, notably Javier Bardem, Scarlett Johannsen, and the national treasure that is Patricia Clarkson. But the movie's standout is Penelope Cruz (pictured above), as a volatile, severely neurotic and passionate artist whose bravado and mood swings darn near steal the picture... Not to be missed. One movie like this does indeed make up for three or four self-indulgent, unsatisfying misfires.

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Saturday, October 11, 2008

"Do I dare eat a peach?" - T.S. Eliot, dead poet

This weekend I'm seeing three different friends for a movie and a bite. I haven't bitten anyone in a while....

On The (Blurry) Road Again

So we finally did leave historic Granada, Nicaragua, at dawn's very crack... In this blurry photo you can finally see the volcanoes in the distance - they surround the city from every direction...

A very early breakfast on the road to Honduras. We stopped at Pescafrita Maritza, a truck-driver 'tourist trap' that surely must give kickbacks to the driver of the van we rented for the trip... Pescafrita means fishfry.

We sure got our minimum daily requirement of rice and plantains

Maritza was already surveying the fish that would soon become lunch...

Latin music filled the air, mostly chosen from this pile of CDs...

Much later, having crossed into Honduras, I took this picture in the drenching sun, while stopped at a gas station...

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