Saturday, May 30, 2009

"Life is beautiful, but it's complicated, we barely make it. We don't need to understand, there are miracles, miracles. Stand where you are, we let all these moments pass us by..." ~vega 4

I've been busy taking in entertainment this weekend. Here's a collection of some reviews of what I saw over the weekend:

Play: Our House

I read an interview with the playwright in which she called the play "a fierce satire," and I had to keep reminding myself that it was a satire because I was getting very emotional while watching it. I really, really wanted to run onstage and shoot one of the characters. I'm not even joking. I was so, so angry with him. But I think a strong emotional response is a good thing. A bad play doesn't make you feel anything, but a good play tugs at your emotions. Our House grabbed at my emotions. It is most definitely a good play. It makes you think. It is incredibly relevant. In fact, it's scary, but I wonder how much of a satire it is, because I feel like it could actually happen. At any rate, I enjoyed it very much, even though it shook me up quite a bit. It was one of those plays where you leave with not much to say besides, "Wow."

Movie: The Brothers Bloom

I enjoyed the movie. It felt like a Wes Anderson movie, and although it's been criticized for that, I don't think it's such a bad thing (I like Wes Anderson). There are lots of twists and turns, and I predicted almost all of them, which was somewhat of a letdown because I like being surprised. I'm not sure why I managed to see everything coming (maybe I just think like Rian Johnson), because some critics have called it convoluted. I thought it was predictable.

What made the film for me was the acting. First of all, I have always loved Mark Ruffalo. I've met him and he's such a nice guy. He's also a great actor. In this movie he was subtly funny. He had great chemistry with his on-screen brother, Adrian Brody, whom I don't normally like but whom I didn't mind as the younger Bloom brother.

To me, the ladies stole most of their scenes. Rinko Kikuchi really, really impressed me. Most of her performance is mime (she only speaks a few words), but she manages to communicate so much through her movements and facial expressions. I'm surprised more critics aren't singling out her performance, because I thought it was inspired. Most critics are shining the spotlight on Rachel Weisz, who really did infuse the film with life. She was charming.

Overall I liked it because I did sympathize with the characters; it was deeper than a traditional con movie.

Movie: Drag Me to Hell
I had to see this movie because I haven't seen a film get rave reviews like this in a long time. As you can see, the critics loved it. It didn't disappoint. I was alternately terrified, disgusted, and amused. I had read many reviews that called it the funniest movie of the year and wondered how that could be the case, but Sam Raimi really did an incredible job of mixing comedy and horror. It was just a really well-made, entertaining movie.

Movie: Angels and Demons
I read both The Da Vinci Code and Angels and Demons a long time ago and really liked them, so I decided not to see the movies because I'm always disappointed in movies that are bad adaptations of books. I'm not sure why I caved and saw this (I still haven't seen The Da Vinci Code and don't plan to). Even if I didn't already know the ending from reading the book, I'm sure I would have figured it out while watching the movie; it was painfully obvious, and Robert Langdon (Tom Hanks) looked like an idiot for not figuring it out sooner. That bugged me. The whole thing seemed so much more...contrived than the novel. I don't know, what was so intriguing in print just didn't work on screen. I was disappointed, just as I expected.

Random Tidbit: The trailer for My Sister's Keeper makes me cry. I know, I know, the trailer?! That Vega 4 song got me when Grey's Anatomy used it, and it still gets me. Mostly, though, the trailer for My Sister's Keeper makes me think of the book, and when I think of the book I cry. I sobbed while reading that book. I will see the movie, but I'll bring LOTS of tissues and will go alone so I won't be too embarrassed.

Friday, May 29, 2009

"And I miss the mountains, I miss lowly climb. Wandering through the wilderness, and spending all my time where the air is clear and cuts you like a knife. I miss the mountains. I, I miss the mountains. I miss my life. I miss my life." ~next to normal

I've become a posting maniac! I'm ushering at a Playwrights Horizons show tonight called Our House. It's supposed to be fabulous, so I'll report back.

Here's a great edition of Broadway Beat that's worth watching. I looooved both of these shows (Waiting for Godot and Next to Normal) beyond words. The video piece on Next to Normal really made me want to go back and see it again because it reminded me of what I love about the show. I probably will see it again soon (I probably should go before Alice wins the Tony for it).

Broadway Beat

Thursday, May 28, 2009

"She said, 'Can't you hear me? 'Cause I'm screaming. I did not go outside yesterday.' I said, "Don't wake me, don't wake me, 'cause I'm dreaming. And I might not go outside again today.'" ~counting crows

I nearly forgot to write about one of the most important events in the literary world! Alice Munro was awarded this year's Man Booker Prize. She was not the favorite to win; in fact, she was a longshot, so it was definitely an upset. She's a very talented writer, and I know she's deserving, but I did think someone else was more deserving this year (Munro could have taken it next year and I would have been thrilled for her!).

I really wanted to see Joyce Carol Oates win (she was one of the contenders). I wasn't expecting that to happen, so I guess I shouldn't be incredibly disappointed. Hopefully she'll have her turn soon. I've heard her speak a few times (in Princeton, Richmond, and NYC) and am always struck by how articulate and witty she is. I've read many of her books (she's written at least seventy-five, probably close to 100), and I am astounded by her consistent brilliance. In my opinion, she is the best American writer alive today. Yep, I went there, although I know what a bold claim it is. Best living American writer. And I'm standing by that statement. Go ahead and challenge me. I've been on a JCO kick lately; today I returned five of her novels to the library (I read a lot on my recent trip to and from Iowa) and checked out a few new ones. I can't get enough of her.

Anyway, congrats to Alice Munro.

I'm going to try and post songs on here as often as possible, so here's today's. It's by Sigur Ros, a band about whom I cannot say enough good things. Recently a friend was complaining about a guy who's going to Iceland, and she was wondering why on earth he would want to go there. She said no one important is from Iceland. I countered by citing Sigur Ros, but she was clueless. Oh well. Songs like Svefn-G-Englar, Untitled #4, and this one, Hoppipolla, never fail to move me. I was reminded of Hoppipolla while watching the movie Penelope tonight.

Get Your Own Player!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

"Well, I have been searching all of my days. All of my days. Many a road, you know, I’ve been walking on, all of my days. And I’ve been trying to find what’s been in my mind as the days keep turning into night.
Well, I have been quietly standing in the shade all of my days. Watch the sky breaking on the promise that we made, all of this rain. And I’ve been trying to find what’s been in my mind as the days keep turning into night
Well, many a night I found myself with no friends standing near. All of my days. I cried aloud, I shook my hands. What am I doing here? All of these days. For I look around me and my eyes confound me and it’s just too bright as the days keep turning into night.
Now I see clearly, it’s you I’m looking for, all of my days. Soon I’ll smile. I know I’ll feel this loneliness no more. All of my days. For I look around me and it seems He found me and it’s coming into sight as the days keep turning into night, as the days keep turning into night. And even breathing feels all right. Yes, even breathing feels all right. Now even breathing feels all right. It’s even breathing, feels all right." ~alexi murdoch

I just realized my last post was post #400 in this blog. Not bad. I've been writing here for 3.5 years and hopefully I can keep it up.

Things are starting to calm down now that grad school is over for the semester. I have less weight on my shoulders. Of course teaching is impossible right now. We have a little over four weeks left, which seems like forever, and the kids already have summer fever; they're going crazy. It'll be a miracle if we all make it out alive. I'm just trying to get through each day.

Tonight Nic and I went to a screening of the new movie Away We Go. It was just what I needed. I absolutely loved it. It was sweet and charming and funny and sometimes made my heart ache. Go see it when it opens. Alexi Murdoch did the music. I've been a fan of his for the past six years, so I was thrilled to hear his voice drifting through the film. He's wonderful. Here's an oldie but goodie of his (give it time to load; it's worth the wait):

Get Your Own Player!

And the trailer for the movie:

Monday, May 25, 2009

We cut the legs off of our pants, threw our shoes into the ocean. Sit back and wave through the daylight. Sit back and wave through the daylight.
Slip and slide on subway grates, these shoes are poor man's ice skates. Fall through like change in the daylight. Fall through like change in the daylight.
I miss yellow lines in my roads, some color on monochrome. Maybe I’ll paint them in myself. Maybe I’ll paint them in myself.
These sidewalks liquid then stone, building walls and an old pay phone. It rings like all through the daylight. It rings like all through the daylight
And in the daylight we can hitchhike to Maine, I hope that someday I’ll see without these frames. And in the daylight i don’t pick up my phone, cause in the daylight anywhere feels like home.
I have five clocks in my life, and only one has the time right. I’ll just unplug it for today, I'll just unplug it for today.
Open hydrant, rolled down windows. This car might make a good old boat and float down Grand Street in daylight. And float down Grand Street in daylight.
And with just half of a sunburn, new yellow lines that I earned. Step back and here comes the night time. Step back and here comes the night time.
And in the daylight we can hitchhike to Maine. I hope that someday I’ll see without these frames. And in the daylight I don’t pick up my phone, cause in the daylight anywhere feels like home." ~matt & kim

Thursday, May 14, 2009

"Step out the front door like a ghost into the fog where no one notices the contrast of white on white." ~counting crows

One of the best opening lines of an album ever.

Yesterday I turned in a 34-page research proposal in one grad school class. Today I'm turning in a 25-pager for another class. To say that I've been swamped is an understatement. Writing all this stuff would have been difficult even if I were going to school full-time, but the fact that I'm also working a full-time job has made it just about impossible. I'll be so glad when the semester is over. And when the school year is over.

Tomorrow morning (insanely early) I'm heading to Iowa for my grandfather's funeral. I'm coming back Sunday night (actually, the early hours of Monday morning). I'm being observed on Monday by my principal.

Does all this give you a good snapshot of what my life is like right now? Yeah, it's ridiculous.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

"And all of the lights on Broadway go down on me. And I watch as all the lights come on through the waves of the sea. From the battery of SoHo to the Village to midtown to Times Square, uptown to Harlem to places where my mind is in my head, these are the dreams inside my head. 'Cause I was dreaming in New York City, I was living in Los Angeles, but I was dreaming in New York City. And now that's where you can find me. Well, if you dream of New York City, get the fuck out of where you are. I came to New York City, and baby, I'm gonna be a rock and roll star. And all of the lights on Broadway come up on me. And I surf along that Broadway bright wave sea...." ~counting crows

Those alts go on and on, but I don't feel like typing any more. Aren't they just beautiful, though? I love how AD loves New York City like I do. That's all for now.
video (Borgata 8/8/08)

Saturday, May 09, 2009

"I don't know if I'm wide awake or dreaming, but all I ever need is everything...Just get the world off your shoulders, and close your pretty blue eyes. Hey monkey, what's life without an occasional surprise?" ~counting crows

I know I haven't updated in awhile. There's waaaay too much to write about. I have to write about my friends' visit to NYC (which was wonderful and ended in goodbye tears). There's too much to say about that, though. I have to write about new movies and Broadway shows. I'd like to complain about the Tony nominees. But I have too much work to do (I've lost a lot of sleep over grad school work this past week and will lose much more this week). And I'm off to usher at Everyday Rapture right now (I love me some Sherie Rene Scott). So the news will have to wait.

Friday, May 01, 2009

"I belong in the service of the queen, I belong anywhere but in between..." ~counting crows

Counting Crows (w/ Augustana) performing Cecelia on GMA

And performing Rain King
(sorry, the videos wouldn't embed)

I love all the alts (although they didn't do my favorite Rain King alts, Thunder Road).

I really hope "The Saturday Night Rebel Rockers Traveling Circus & Medicine Show" visits NYC this summer. I miss CC. I keep thinking of their NYC club shows last spring (at Blender, Bowery), where I was so close to the band that I was sweat and spit on by AD himself (and, at one point, accidentally got a handful of AD's dreads).

I haven't written lately because I've been really busy. I have two fabulous friends staying with me this week, and I'm loving having them here. We're hoping for good weather tomorrow.