Monday, December 31, 2007

Old lady's dream come true

I have been slacking on this blog lately. The holidays consumed me both mentally and physically to the point where I was barely able to speak English, let alone type in complete sentences.

Last Thursday I hit the road to Arlington with my husband to visit my sister and to catch The Dresden Dolls. The drive was hellacious, I detest the whole D.C. area with a great passion. I got a ferocious headache that never really did go away. My sister accompanied me to the Dolls show, which was an absolute joy in every way possible.

The Dresden Dolls played at the Sixth and I Historic Synagogue right in D.C. The incredible facility was built in 1908 and restored in 2002 (see the picture above for the detail of the stage area above). The line to get in the show wrapped around the block, but the seating was such that everyone got a good seat. I had never been inside a synagogue, and it made me want to convert instantly. There's a synagogue around the corner from where I live, I think I'll have to pop in there some time. Attending this concert was like going to church except one of my favorite bands played instead of hearing a boring, depressing sermon about how gays are damned and so am I! The doors opened at 5:30pm and the band started around 6:15pm. Perfect! The show opened with singer Amanda Palmer performing an a Capella version of "The Wind that Shakes the Barley". The acoustics of the synagogue were stunning, the reverb was amazing. Palmer and drummer Brian Viglione appeared to be delighted to be playing together (this was the first stop in their winter tour, their first after a long hiatus). It was a fun, giddy performance full of obscure songs and covers. My sister is a drummer, she fell in love with the band while admiring Brian Viglione's unique and playful style.
All of this, and the show was out by 8:15pm. My dream come true! We left, ate Indian curry and watched "Flight of the Conchords" and I was able to be in bed by 11pm. This is my old lady dream, to have concerts begin at 6pm and end at 8pm so that I can get to bed early. The reason the Dolls show began so late is that they had another engagement in Baltimore later that evening. I bet they had a late night.
Remember, The Dresden Dolls just might be in your area sometime soon! If you are nearby, be sure to see them at The NorVa on Jan 13th! You can bet your bum I'll be there.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007


I wish everyone a bright and beautiful day today and every day of the year.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007


Howdy folks! I turned on this "comment moderation" feature and it screwed me up. Sorry about that, all of your comments are now posted.

(Caution, a few minor spoilers lie ahead as do a few expletives which are in order. I promised not to post expletives, but I couldn't help this, really I couldn't.) So last night I went and rented the movie Once. I kept reading all of these glowing reviews and some friends were waxing poetic about it. Although I liked the tone of the film and liked the documentary look, it was a bit boring and quite predictable. The indie films think they're being subversive by having the characters maintain unrequited love. Nope, it's getting old. I want the cheesy, sappy, super-happy ending with the girl and guy kissing and maybe getting a little, too. This one is built for the indie rock crowd who fall all over themselves and break their little black-rimmed glasses trying to get tickets for Death Cab for Cutie. It's not horrible, it's just lame. The music is lame and the setup is very unrealistic for a film trying to feel like a documentary. The characters are all pusses, too. No one has any balls whatsoever. This movie makes me think of one word, and that word is "twat". All the characters are twats, the songs are twatty and the movie is one big twatfest. I suppose my expectations were too high (I should know by now not to do that). Once has been dubbed a "rock musical" by numerous writers, this contains as much rock music as Brigadoon. It's a Twat Musical, that's what it is.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

I want to eat pie

This past weekend I watched the film Waitress. The film started out nicely enough, but it finished up corny and hoaky. There were some very enjoyable things about the movie, but the main characters were all too broadly drawn and morally questionable. However, the featured pies looked delicious and I'm considering ordering the Border's special edition DVD because it comes with pie recipe cards. Yum!
The great tragedy surrounding Waitress was the horrific murder of writer/director/actress Adrienne Shelly. She was such a talented and beautiful woman (that's her in the picture above). I loved her as Hal Hartley's muse in the films The Unbelievable Truth and Trust. As Maria Coughlin in Trust, Adrienne Shelly shaped an unforgettable character. "I'll marry you if you admit that respect, admiration and trust equal love" she said to Martin Donovan's character Matthew. He agrees, of course. It was a great moment in cinema for me. I must have seen Trust 10 times or more in the mid to late 90s. I'm a little sad that her legacy will be Waitress because I believe that she could have gone on to bigger and better directorial efforts. She was lovely. Everyone should go out and rent Trust right away and see how incredible Shelly was. And even picking up Waitress wouldn't hurt you, either.

Friday, December 14, 2007

The best Christmas special that's not Pee-Wee's Christmas

I should have posted this earlier, but I missed the mark. The second greatest Christmas special is the 1985 Rankin-Bass produced The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus. I promise you will never find a Christmas special as whacked-out and unique as this one. I saw it when it first aired in 1985 and thought it was incredible. The images will stay with you forever, especially if you are young. A few years later it aired on television again and my mom wouldn't let me watch it. I believe her exact words were "Turn that creepy s#!t off". Of course, that only made me more determined to see it again.

Created with beautiful puppets and stop-motion animation, the story is adapted from the book by L. Frank Baum (yes, The Wizard of Oz author). The story goes something like this:

A human baby is found abandoned in the Forest of Burzee by the Great Ak, the master Immortal woodsman. Necile the Wood Nymph wishes to keep the child and raise him as her own. Accompanied the lioness Shiegra and a variety of forest creatures, the baby is names Claus and is raised in the forest. Claus finds out that he is mortal and is shown the wicked and ugly ways of mankind. In order to counterbalance man's cruelty, Claus moves to the mortal world and begins his good deeds. As he grows old, the Immortals who raised him must decide by council if they will bestow upon Claus the mantle of Immortality.

Strange? Oh, it's far weirder than what you imagine. In the course of the hour-long special, you get to meet the Immortals (among them a slug man and a screeching wind demon) and you see Claus' adversaries who consist of beasts with spiked jewelry. My favorite bit of craziness is when Claus is attacked by the giant spiders.

I'm afraid that this aired this past Tuesday night. I promise to post immediately if it is scheduled to air again. Currently, The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus is still unavailable on DVD and is a rarity on VHS. Still, it must be applauded for its shear audacity to avoid all stereotypes and subvert both the religious and secular notions of Christmas and Santa Claus in order to create a unique and transcendent story.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Must have

My gorgeous and talented friend Atlanta has begun selling her handmade jewelry creations. Take a moment to visit her Etsy shop here. You will find beautiful, unique and reasonably priced delights! I already scored a pendant and I'm contemplating more...

Favorite news story of the day

Better than today's headline about some guys who tried to smuggle $10,000 worth of cocaine in a Christmas card is this article on Newsweek.com:

'Avoid Death' is named wackiest label
'Danger: Avoid Death' is chosen as nation's wackiest warning label
By RON VAMPLE Associated Press Writer AP

A warning on a small tractor that reads "Danger: Avoid Death" has been chosen as the nation's wackiest warning label by an anti-lawsuit group.
The Wacky Warning Label Contest, now in its 11th year, is conducted by Novi-based Michigan Lawsuit Abuse Watch as part of an effort to show the effects of lawsuits on warning labels.
Kevin Soave of Farmington Hills, a Detroit suburb, won the $500 grand prize for submitting the winning label.
The $250 second place was given to Carrianne, Jacob and Robby Turin of Greensburg, Pa., for a label they found on an iron-on T-shirt transfer that warns: "Do not iron while wearing shirt."
Richard Goodnow of Lancaster, Mass., earned the $100 third-place prize for a label on a baby stroller featuring a small storage pouch that warns: "Do not put child in bag."
Contest organizer Bob Dorigo Jones says the silly labels reflect how broken America's civil justice system is.

Read it here if you like.

In other news, finally Jodie Foster came out. It's about time. Good for her.

Thursday, December 6, 2007


Wow, I have very little to post about lately. It's slow for me working all the time and spending all free time trying to get it together for Christmas.

Over the summer I became obsessed with the reality television show L.A. Ink. I don't care much for reality shows in general, but I really enjoyed this program about giggly girls creating beautiful tattoo art. Because of this silly show, I started watching Miami Ink but didn't find that as entertaining. I got very, very excited when I saw the preview for London Ink, the new show based in, you guessed it, London. I figured this one would be my favorite, being that London is my old stomping ground. I miss that city every day.

London Ink is utterly boring. The wonderful people I knew in London were crazy and fun and wild and terrific. Of course, my old friends aren't tattoo artists. On the show, there are four artists who create tattoos for customers who are then filmed during the tattoo process. The artists are rather stuffy (though perhaps not by English standards!). The customers are stilted as well. On L.A. Ink, the customers cry when they tell their tattoo story and then go berserk and scream "Oh my God!" when they see the finished piece for the first time. On London Ink, the customers briefly explain the tattoo and when it's finished say something profound like, "Oh, nice one."

I love London, I love tattoos (or, rather, tittoos as they keep calling them on the show). I hope that London Ink delivers the good stuff as the episodes keep coming. Perhaps time helps to warm to each artists personality. Or not.

Plus, they gotta let that stupid David Beckham tittoo rest in peace. Mentioning it once was interesting, five times is just pathetic. They actually claimed that Beckham's "guardian angel" tittoo is the most famous tittoo in the world. I didn't even know about it until the show aired. I thought Tupac's Thug Life tittoo might garner that title.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

It's the most wonderful time of the year

I'm having quite a week, but most of it hasn't been worth blogging about. It's getting to be Christmastime, and anyone who know me understands that I lose any sense that I possess and turn into a retard. I am easily distracted by shiny things, so I LOVE Christmas. I watch all the stupid Christmas specials (only the classics, really, like A Charlie Brown Christmas and How The Ginch Stole Christmas and my all-time fave, Pee-Wee's Christmas Special). I decorate and bake and handmake lots of presents and turn my front yard into a neon catastrophe that can be seen from I-64. I freakin' love Christmas.

Last Saturday my husband took me to Alley Katz Richmond to see a band called Action Patrol. They were a very popular punk band in Richmond in the early to mid '90s. It was too weird for words. My old teacher from VCU was the lead singer and I probably hadn't laid eyes on him in maybe 7 years. I used to have such a crush on him. He didn't crush me back. He looks the same as he did before. I only ran into a few people I knew, I was trying to lay low. I mostly hung out with my wonderful sister. It was very uncomfortable being back in Richmond, however briefly. The show was good, but I was feeling too out-of-sorts to really appreciate it. In Richmond it always felt like everyone is always out to impress and play "let's see who can be the coolest". It's hipster after hipster and I never quite was able to fit in that niche. I guess that I should be thankful for that!

In other boring news, I watched that timeless holiday classis The Devil's Rejects. I also bought tix to see Rob Zombie in Jan.