Sunday, February 27, 2011

"When we're together, gray skies clear up. And I cheer up to where I'm less depressed. And sincerely, from the bottom of my heart, I just can't take it when we're apart. We belong together, we belong together, yes we do, you'll be mine forever." ~randy newman

The song "We Belong Together" is a Randy Newman song from Toy Story 3 that will probably win the Oscar for Best Original Song tonight. The version I'm sharing with you is a great cover by Yo La Tengo. This comes courtesy of nyctaper.

I love Oscar night. It's just so much fun. I love movies, and this is the biggest night of the year for movies. I love seeing my favorites get recognized, I love the glamour, I love the upsets, I love the crazy's all just wonderful. I'm really hoping for some big upsets this year. We'll see what happens. I'll share my final predictions and my own preferences with you toward the end of this post. First, though, I want to show you the Oscar dessert I made this year. I'm by no means an expert baker, but I like experimenting. These look a bit messy, but they taste really good:

There are ten different designs. Each Best Picture nominee fits with a design. Can you match them up? The most difficult part is probably figuring out what the different pictures are actually supposed to be (I'm not an expert artist or baker). Head to the comments section and post your guesses. The nominees are: Black Swan, The Fighter, Inception, The Kids Are All Right, The King's Speech, 127 Hours, The Social Network, Toy Story 3, True Grit, and Winter's Bone.

Finally, my predictions:

Picture: The King's Speech
Actor: Colin Firth
Actress: Natalie Portman
(I would love to see Annette Bening take this, and she's the only person who has a chance to beat Portman, but I don't think it will happen.)
Supporting Actor: Christian Bale
(Geoffrey Rush might be able to sneak away with it, but I'm pulling for Bale.)
Supporting Actress: Melissa Leo
(Some people think Hailee Steinfeld can win, and I wish she would, but I just don't see it happening, despite Leo's bizarre campaigning and speeches. But if there is an upset in the acting categories tonight, it might be here, and I would be thrilled.)
Director: David Fincher, The Social Network
(All I can say is Fincher better win. If they give this to Tom Hooper, I will be so freakin' angry.)
Original Screenplay: David Seidler, The King's Speech
Adapted Screenplay: Aaron Sorkin, The Social Network
Foreign Language Film: In a Better World
Animated Feature: Toy Story 3
Documentary: Inside Job
Cinematography: True Grit
(True Grit better win here.)
Editing: The Social Network
Art direction: The King's Speech
(Alice in Wonderland could walk away with it, but I don't think it will.)
Costumes: Alice in Wonderland
(They could give this to The King's Speech, but they usually go for more showiness.)
Makeup: The Wolfman
(Because 'Best Makeup' usually means 'Most Makeup.')
Music (Original Score): The King's Speech
(I really, really wish The Social Network would win this. Unfortunately, I'm afraid it won't.)
Music (Original Song): Randy Newman, "We Belong Together," Toy Story 3
(This is always a wonky category, so who knows. Country Strong could take it.)
Visual Effects: Inception
Sound Editing: Inception
Sound Mixing: Inception
Documentary Short: Killing in the Name
Short animated: Day and Night
Short live: Na Wewe

Saturday, February 26, 2011

"Tiny curtains open and we heard the tiny clap of little hands. A tiny man would tell a little joke and get a tiny laugh from all the folks. Sitting, drifting around in bubbles and thinking it was us that carried them. When we finally got it figured out that we had truly missed the boat." ~modest mouse

One of the craziest concert experiences ever? Being at the Jones Beach concert where lightning struck the stage as Modest Mouse was playing. Seriously. I was recording audio, so maybe I'll post it tomorrow. That night was absolutely crazy, but it was pretty amazing, too. R.E.M. played "It's the End of the World as We Know It (And I Feel Fine)" when they had previously said they wouldn't play it live again. It was appropriate for the evening.

This week has flown by; I can't believe I have to go back to work so soon. The fact that I was sick made it less enjoyable than it could have been, but I still loved being able to just stay at home and relax.

I forgot to post the Jimmy Fallon video. Here's a link to the whole show. If you just want to watch Destroyer's performance, it's below. I loved them. I'm on the right-hand side, kind of in that back right corner. It was a fun taping to attend. Jeremy Irons was hilarious.

Yesterday I went to see the new Broadway play Good People, and I am so, so glad I did. I thought it was fantastic. It's written by David Lindsay-Abaire (the Pulitzer Prize-winning writer of Rabbit Hole) and stars Frances McDormand and Tate Donovan, with Estelle Parsons, Becky Ann Baker, Patrick Carroll, and Renee Elise Goldsberry rounding out the ensemble. First of all, the play is incredibly sharp. Much like Rabbit Hole, it's hilarious and devastating at the same time. It addresses the issue of class without being overly simplistic. It doesn't preach or present any solutions, it just shows you the lives of these incredibly real characters. The actors give wonderful performances. Frances McDormand is always amazing, but in this play I thought she was especially convincing. I hope she gets a Tony nom (I predict she will). I love Tate Donovan and I was thrilled to see him onstage; he held his own opposite Ms. McDormand. It was also great to see Estelle Parsons onstage, and she was very funny. I love Becky Ann Baker because she's in one of my favorite shows, Freaks & Geeks (she's the mother). Her character in Good People (described as a "Southie with a mouthie") is the polar opposite of her Freaks & Geeks character, which was fun to watch. It's a very strong cast and a very good play. If you're able to see it before it closes, I highly recommend doing so.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

"The room's still now when I'm lying, 'cause the well of the night has gone dry. When they ask to behave, I pay them no mind. Now I doubt if I'd have been so kind." ~yeasayer

I went to an advance screening of the movie Bridesmaids tonight. It doesn't come out until May, so it wasn't a final cut. It's kind of like The Hangover with girls. It's very funny (and sometimes gross). Kristen Wiig is absolutely hilarious, and it was fun to see her as a leading lady. Chris O'Dowd was a charming fresh face (and his accent definitely didn't hurt); I really liked him. I came home and looked him up, and imdb informed me that he "has a collection of over a thousand chocolate bar wrappers." Now, that's a hobby I can get behind. Let me know if you need some help, Chris.

I was in the mood to watch Beautiful Girls tonight. I'm not sure why; maybe because I've got Oscars on the mind and the movie features a likely Oscar winner (Natalie Portman) at a young age. It's a movie that I don't mind seeing again and again. And seeing it tonight in the middle of this awful winter somehow made me less angry at winter. Weird, I know. Anyway, I got myself into a Natalie Portman mood and I quickly put together this very short video clip from Beautiful Girls and the Golden Globes, just because I found her Golden Globes laugh hilarious.

Finally, here's my favorite Natalie Portman video:

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

"So you're wishing that you never did all the embarrassing things you've done. And you're wishing you could set it right, and you're wishing you could stay the night. But then I go again, wishing never solved a problem. If you wanna get it big time, go ahead and get it get it big time. So I think I can solve all my problems by myself. Nevermind, nevermind, nevermind, nevermind. And you think you can solve all your problems by yourself. Nevermind, nevermind, nevermind, nevermind." ~yeasayer

I love Yeasayer. I saw them open for The National a few years ago and they were just so much fun, even though at that point I wasn't familiar with their music (not many people were). I've liked seeing them gain popularity (even though a little bit of me wanted to keep them to myself). The above song is from the Dark was the Night compilation (created by the Dessner brothers of The National). Go buy that album if you don't already have it. It's raising money for a great cause, and it's a fabulous compilation of music by a bunch of great bands. Please don't download it illegally, though; the album is raising money for charity.

I don't have school this week (it's our winter break), and I decided to stay at home and relax. Last year Lauren and I went to Miami. I would have liked to go somewhere warm this year, but I didn't really have anyone to go with me (my best teacher friends aren't teachers anymore so they're working), and I'm saving money by staying at home. I'm trying to be productive, so I've done a LOT of work in my apartment. It doesn't look like a lot, but trust me, it is. I cleaned out my closet and donated a couple huge bags of clothes to goodwill, I bought a new cabinet to store clothes, I organized the cabinets under my bathroom and kitchen sinks, I organized my shoes (and threw out a bunch), I cleaned, and I child-proofed my cabinets. No, I do not have children. I do, however, have two kittens who love to wreak havoc. My kittens love small spaces. They love squeezing their tiny bodies into nooks and crannies. And Casey loves climbing into the cabinets under the sink. He can open the cabinets by himself. So I added child-proof latches, and now he's locked out. See the collage below for examples of my kitties in small spaces.

I'm also doing some fun stuff this week. Today I went to a taping of Late Night with Jimmy Fallon. Jeremy Irons was the main guest, and he's hilarious. Watch the whole show, and watch it for him. He's just so entertaining. The Farrelly Brothers were the second guest, and it was cool to see them. I was on the Band Bench, so I was onstage while the band (Destroyer) played. The last time I was on the Band Bench, The National were playing and I was quite visible ( I didn't have as good a spot this time, but it was still fun. From the audience view I'm on the right-hand side of the stage, standing next to a girl with glasses in a red sweatshirt. I'll post the video tomorrow.

A couple of random musings before I go:

I never addressed the fact that The Arcade Fire won the Grammy for Album of the Year. I lost faith in the Grammys a long time ago (actually, I don't think I ever had faith in them), but this one award made me think a heck of a lot more highly of the Grammys. I was shocked and elated. They don't often reward the bands I listen to (in fact, they tend to simply group them in one category labeled "Alternative" and then ignore them in the rest of the categories), so this was a complete (and welcome) surprise. And the fact that they then performed "Ready to Start"? Oh my goodness. Be still, my heart.

Random musing #2: James Franco. Oh, James Franco. You're just such a mystery. I'd love to have a conversation with the guy, because he just seems so interesting. He goes to, like, four different colleges, he writes books, he sings, he acts, he's hosting the Oscars and he's also nominated...and now he posts photos on twitter. Photos that rival the twitter photos posted by The Edge. Seriously, those two guys need to get together and compare notes.

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

"Oh, my sweet Carolina. What compels me to go? Oh, my sweet disposition. May you one day carry me home." ~ryan adams

Ryan Adams:

Adam Duritz (solo):

This song kills me. Is it because I'm a Carolina girl (I was born in South Carolina and it's one of my absolute favorite places in the world)? Is it because it's just a freakin' gorgeous song? I love the harmony of Ryan Adams' and Emmylou Harris' voices. And Adam Duritz's cover of this song is amazing. He covers a lot of Ryan Adams songs ("Winding Wheel" and "Come Pick Me Up" are two more highlights), and he nails them all. The two musicians are good buddies. Ryan Adams actually shares a songwriting credit for the Counting Crows song "Los Angeles" (it's about when AD and Ryan lived in L.A. together).

I've been making plans for this summer, and I'm so ready for summer to arrive. And we're only at the halfway point of the school year. And this winter is brutal and seems never-ending. Ugh.

Saturday, February 05, 2011

There's nothing we can say or do, the damage is in front of you. I'm sorry, but sometimes things fall apart. Take some time to understand, the situation's out of hand, but you didn't see it from the start." ~cassettes won't listen

So this was a show weekend for me. On Friday it was John Gabriel Borkman at BAM, starring the fabulous Alan Rickman, Fiona Shaw, and Lindsay Duncan. They've assembled one of the finest casts imaginable. Unfortunately I wasn't so crazy about the play (and I generally love Ibsen). It wasn't bad at all, it just had bits that didn't quite resonate with me. But I'm still glad I saw it.
Can I just talk about Alan Rickman for a minute? I think he has my absolute favorite voice ever. Seriously, can you think of anyone with a better speaking voice? I would pay good money to listen to him read the phone book. I absolutely love him. Seriously, I'm crazy about him. So even though I'm not sure he was perfect for the title role, I was just thrilled to see him onstage. Of course I had to stagedoor. There were a LOT of people there, so he didn't do photos (and he announced right away that he wouldn't sign anything related to Harry Potter). But I saw him. And got to listen to him some more (he was quite funny).
Confession: I kind of miss his Snape hair.

Tonight I saw Love, Loss, and What I Wore. I've seen it before, but I like it, and I was offered a free ticket. We were in the first row, which is pressed right up against the stage, so that was very cool. It has a good cast right now. It's fun seeing it with different people in it and listening to how they tell the stories differently.
Pauletta Washington is in it, and her husband (Denzel Washington) was there. I didn't get my camera out soon enough when they left, so I only got a photo of them walking away.
Nikki Blonsky (from the movie version of Hairspray) was in it, and she was very funny. She was also very sweet after the show.
And Alexis Bledel was also very sweet. First of all, she's incredibly gorgeous in person. Second of all, I know I have a huge head, but standing next to her makes it look like the size of a watermelon. Oh well. Now I've met the two stars of Gilmore Girls, which makes me happy.

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

"Can't help myself but count the flaws, claw my way out through these walls. One temporary escape, feel it start to permeate." ~the naked and famous

Posted above is the fabulous song ("Young Blood") that was playing during the last five minutes of last night's epic Chuck. I can't stop listening to it. I know I sound like a broken record, but no TV showrunner does music better than Josh Schwartz.

I'm so ready for winter to end. I'm really, really sick of it.

On Sunday I went to the Fan Day performance of Chicago on Broadway. It was so much fun. It was general admission, so I got in line pretty early to get a good spot for my friend Christin and myself. While waiting in line, they kept bringing food to all of us (hot dogs, pizza, cupcakes), they gave prizes was actually fun to wait in line. We got seats in the second row of the center orchestra, so we had a perfect view. It was a great performance. It currently has a very strong cast, and there was tons of energy coming from both the stage and the audience. Seth Rudetsky entertained us before the performance and Barry Weissler introduced the show (as well as some famous people in the audience, including Chita Rivera). I thought it was a very cool thing for the producers to do. Here's the photo they took of all of us (wearing our new Chicago swag that they gave us):

Tonight I went to a screening of The Adjustment Bureau. I'm interested to read the reviews (of course there aren't any out yet because the movie won't be released for more than a month), because I have mixed feelings about it. I was really excited about it because it's an interesting premise (it's about free will vs. destiny) and it has a great cast of actors that I love. While watching it, the premise actually seemed a bit ridiculous (a group of incompetent men control our lives? really?), and it was too easy to figure out where they were going with it. I didn't think the movie was anything special. I love all the actors in it. Matt Damon has been seriously overlooked this season for his performance in True Grit and I think he's a fabulous actor. I'm crazy about John Slattery (seriously, I love him). I'm also a big fan of Anthony Mackie's (and I always love seeing people in movies whom I've seen perform onstage). Emily Blunt is always lovely. But they just weren't enough to make me love this movie and overcome the weaknesses of the plot. Slattery had my favorite line, "I hate downtown" (it sounds better in the movie, when he's muttering it). Anyway, it's not an awful film, but it was still disappointing to me.