Archive: August, 2009
Disclaimer: I saw Julie and Julia, and I agree with a lot of Sean Burns' review in Philadelphia Weekly. (Our own Cindy Fuchs brings up other relevant points, which you can read in her review tonight online and tomorrow in print). I also agree that half of the reason I want to scratch out my eyes when I go to see romantic comedies (and I see a lot of romantic comedies) is the plot structure that Nora Ephron created with treacle like Sleepless in Seattle (although, I also have to admit, I've seen When Harry Met Sally' an embarrassing amount of times).
But here's my problem with Mr. Burns:
Architect of every odious modern romantic comedy cliche, Nora Ephron initially got famous for being cheated on by Washington Post writer Carl Bernstein, and somehow parlayed her misfortune into a profitable career turning affable screen presences like Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks into annoying simps in such ubiquitous cable staples as Sleepless in Seattle and You've Got Mail.
Nora Ephron was pretty famous before she married Carl Bernstein. Yeah, sure, that made her more famous, which tends to happen when you marry a guy who took down a president. But to totally discount her career as a journalist and place her fame solely on her failed marriage is, to say, unfair. I mean, writing a column about feminism for Esquire in the early '70s couldn't have been easy.
It wasn't the divorce, or even the marriage, that made her famous, or even got her into movies. Ephron, as outlined in the New Yorker piece, grew up in LA, the progeny of two screenwriters. It was the <strike>memoir</strike> novel Heartburn, about the divorce, and subsequent screenplay (made into a movie starring Meryl Streep and Jack Nicholson) that gave her the extra push. And then she wrote and received and Academy Award nom for Silkwood. And then ' and then'
As a personal anecdote, my mom, who logged quite a few hours in a newsroom herself, recounted to me how when she was a senior in college (about three years before Ephron married Bernstein), she attended the MORE Counter Culture journalism convention, where Ephron, without the help of her future husband, was a main draw. So it's not like she became famous for getting cheated on. She became more famous because she did something about it.
So Sean, I know that was a tossed-off lead sentence that was supposed to convey bigger ideas, and you eventually go on to praise Ephron, but you have to understand why, as a female myself, it's insulting that a woman's accomplishments are boiled down her husband cheating on her. I highly suggest you read Ephron's piece "A Few Words About Breasts," which is maddeningly not easily accessible online, but did make into in this Esquire piece on the 70 greatest sentences in the mag's history.
Yeah, Ephron isn't the greatest filmmaker in the world. But she's more than just some jilted housewife. And she deserves better.
UPDATE: From A.O. Scott's New York Times review of Julie and Julia: "Ms. Ephron, a literary and journalistic star before she was a filmmaker, is unequivocal in her celebration of the joys of such triumph."
|Andy Warhol Museum|
Holy literary events: Tonight, there are at least three book signing/reading-type things that we'd like to attend. First up is the weekly Light of Unity Artists' and Writers' Series, which mostly features performances by poets and essayists, but also hosts music and theater acts now and again. Ian Wolf, Jeff Ingram, Ebony Malaika Collier are a few of the artists who'll be up to the plate tonight. (6 p.m., free, Free Library of Philadelphia, 1901 Vine St., 215-686-5322, library.phila.org.)
Also, Joe Sixpack, aka the Daily News brewsky reporter Don Russell, will discuss his book Joe Sixpack's Philly Beer Guide. (6 p.m., free, McGillin's Olde Ale House, 1310 Drury St., 215-735-5562, mcgillins.com.) Meanwhile, over at the Moonstone Arts Center, Richie Unterberger will read and sign his book on The Velvet Underground, White Light/White Heat: The Velvet Underground Day-By-Day. And you thought I wasn't going to get around to explaining that banana up top. (7 p.m., free, Moonstone Arts Center, 110 S. 13th St., 215-735-9600, robinsbookstore.com.)
We can't really understand any reason you wouldn't go flocking to Mugshots this Thursday (7 p.m., free, 2106 Fairmount Ave., mugshotscoffeehouse.com) for the annual Screens 'N' Spokes charity art sale. Sixteen talented artists from across the U.S. ' including Greg Pizzoli, Leia Bell and Decoder Ring Design Concern ' have created bike-inspired illustrations and letterpress work to benefit the National MS Society, and we kinda want one of each.
They're gorgeous prints priced fairly, and the cause is a great one. Team Screens 'N' Spokes has an almost-up-and-running Web site, blog, Twitter account and Etsy site (where the prints will be available for purchase as of the week of August 10), but they've also shared with us a handful of previews that we, in turn, will share with y'all. Here goes, with accompanying Screens 'N' Spokes-provided captions:
|First off is a sexy number from Renee Fernandez of the Decoder Ring Design Concern, hailing from Austin, Texas. Renee is an avid biker and her print uses cool greens and yellows to fill your wall with double entendres.||Next up is a bright blue print from John Vogl, who works under the moniker "The Bungaloo" in St. Louis, MO.||From SNS veteran Leia Bell, we've seen two red bikes ' a tricycle and a road bike by the shore ' but this year she's going for a pretty shade of green in a sweet close-up. It's still instantly recognizable as Leia's work.|
Re- capping True Blood each and every Monday.
"Release Me" was like bad foreplay. If this is what we're going to get, why go all the way? It answered too many questions, stunting the build-up to the two looming climaxes ' the battles between the vampires and the Fellowship of the Sun and Maryann and the residents of Bon Temps.
'Release Me' begins back at Maryann's orgy. Sam escapes as he shifts into an owl and flies from Maryann, who looks goofy, not frightening, running after him in the large bull mask. The next morning, clueless orgy-participants Tara and Eggs awake on the couch with a case of 'last-night' amnesia. Eggs blames the potency of Maryann's weed, but Tara seems on the tip of putting the possession-pieces together.
At the Fellowship of the Sun church, Sookie and Hugo are trapped in a basement storage cage. To calm the claustrophobic Hugo, Sookie grabs his hand, which induces images in her mind of Hugo as the Fellowship of the Sun's vampire narc. When Reverend Newlin comes to question the pair, Hugo reveals Sookie's full name and her connection with Jason.
Post-coital, Sarah Newlin insists she and Jason tell her husband about their escapades in accordance with their vow of honesty. Terrified, Jason attempts to leave the compound, but is stopped by Reverend Newlin and his right-hand mighty man, Gabe. While Jason thinks they have discovered Sarah's infidelity, Reverend Newlin actually believes Jason to be on the side of the 'fang-bangers' and orders him to be gotten 'rid of.' Gabe attempts to kill Jason in the woods, but Jason's Fellowship training comes in handy and he kicks the big guy's ass.
Lorena continues to prevent Bill from leaving the hotel to save Sookie. And when Bill asks to call Eric to come to Sookie's aide instead, she happily tells him that his entrapment was Eric's idea, as he wants Sookie for himself. Fingers crossed for a vampire love-triangle. It's only normal for the leading lady to fall for the bad boy ' think Buffy and Spike.
Back in Bon Temps, Daphne snidely explains to the frantic Sam that Maryann is a god, akin to Satan, with powers to control and incite wild emotions such as lust and anger. And while she sings her praises, Maryann could care less about the shifter, possessing Eggs to stab Daphne in her unsuspecting gut.
Still on the run from the Fellowship, Jason is found by a distraught Sarah Newlin, who shoots him with some sort of gun. It appears she got him good but Jason probably hasn't bitten it yet. The show's success does rest heavily on his humorous stupidity ' and all those shirtless scenes.
'Release Me' ends with a released Godric saving Sookie from a vengeful Gabe who attempts to rape her. But that's no shocker, seeing as Godric possesses the strength that comes with being more than 2,000 years old. The more interesting part of the finale is Eric's abduction of Barry, after he delivers a mind-message from Sookie to Bill. This means more Barry next episode, and who doesn't want another mind reader in the mix?
|Eugene Van Mieghem|
Erwin Joos, the curator of Belgium's Eugeen Van Mieghem Museum and author of "Antwerp New York: Eugene Van Mieghem," will lecture on the realist painter he's studied for so long. Mieghem came of age in the Belgian port of Antwerp in the late 19th century, and his paintings reflect that ' when they're not of women (see above), they're depicting lovable characters like emigrants, dockers, bargees and port tramps. Visit the Web site for an extensive look at his works.
Mon., Aug. 3, 6 p.m., free, Philadelphia Free Library, Independence Branch, 18 S. 7th St., 215-685-1633, library.phila.gov.
We've long been fans of the various works of Sean Byrne, the onetime drummer for acts like Mazarin and Lenola, whose work as a songwriter/guitarist/singer with Lucas Zaleski in' Twin Atlas is strummy, ethereal, sunny-day, feel-happy-but-a-little-sad kinda stuff. Byrne writes to let us know that in advance of the digital release of the band's Good Light tomorrow, they're making two tracks from the album available today, for free:
Soundtracking the humidity of Summer 2009, with an eye towards the crisp Autumn to come....
'Good Light' by The Twin Atlas (ex-Mazarin, Lenola), out digitally tomorrow Tuesday 8/4, on CD later this month.
2 free MP3's:
'Never Disappear' (download)
RIYL: rural sunset drives, Yo La Tengo's mystical side, canned beer, Teenage Fanclub, vocal harmonies, coffee, Byrds, light filtering through the atmosphere, longboarding, Murmur, good vibes, chiming guitars, nighttime bicycling, 'Sentimental Lady'.
You can buy the album, beginning Aug. 4,' at thetwinatlas.com
Monday: The Rural Alberta Advantage play highly percussive indie folk. A manic SXSW performance last year gained them enough fame to be recognized by every other blog as a major upcoming band. This is your chance to see what all of the hype is about. With Steve Goldberg & The Arch Enemies, 8pm, $10, Kung Fu Necktie, 1248 N. Front St., 215-291-4919.
Tuesday: Brooklyn's noisey dance group Gang Gang Dance have followed in the footsteps of their fellow NY bros Animal Collective in a move from harsh chaotic noise to a blissful psychedelic dance sound. With Hex Message & Mincemeat or Tenspeed, 8pm, $12, Kung Fu Necktie, 1248 N. Front St., 215-291-4919.
Wednesday: Casy & Brian play tripped out tunes with tribal beats, eerie noises and vocal chants. With Unicorn Basement, Royalchord, Psychic Reality, 8-11pm, $5-$10, Danger Danger Gallery, 5013 Baltimore Ave.
Friday: The Saddle Creek indie-rockers, Cursive, will be performing a ton of their old stuff at this show, so it is definitely a must for fans. They play pop-punky indie infused with elements of noise and post-hardcore to create a unique sound. With Love Language, First Unitarian Church, $13, 8:30pm, 22nd and Chestnut Sts.
Saturday: Hip Hop duo The Clipse have been busting up the charts with their gritty rhymes for the past decade, With #1 singles, top ranking albums and amazing collaborations with the likes of Pharell, Kanye West, and The Neptunes you really can't go wrong with this show.
With J. Cole, $18, 8:00pm, at the Starlight Ballroom, 460 N 9th street.
Sunday: San Francisco's Jonah Matranga plays peaceful acoustic ballads. At the First Unitarian Church (Chapel), 6pm, $10, 22nd and Chestnut Sts.
|Photo | John Vettese|
Who wants to brave the pouring rain?
In solidarity, my crew and I just simultaneously tore off our All Points West media wristbands.
Coldplay? Don't need to see them so much. Echo and the Bunnymen? The nostalgia for the unremembered '80s woulda been nice, but nah. Kitty, Daisy and Lewis? At Kung Fu Necktie next week. Mogwai? Gaslight Anthem? The Black Keys? La Roux? They'll tour again and play Philly, I'm certain.
Your intrepid summer festival reporter, alas, is feeling less than intrepid. What can I say? I'm no Jesse Delaney. To recap this weekend's sustained damages:
-One (1) Canon Digital SLR, spitting all manner of error messages and no longer shooting photos
-One (1) cell phone, fried and unusable
-Three (3) pair of footwear, ruined
-Two (2) ankles, severly twisted in mud-bogs, throbbing
To self-critique, the breakage of gear is my own damn fault for being an idiot and trying to document Vampire Weekend's Friday afternoon set in a damn monsoon. And the weather conditions are par for the summer festival course ' I shouldn't be a complain-y sissy about some mud-caking and trip-and-falling.
On the other hand, we spent two days in the muck for the stronger acts on the All Points West lineup. And this morning's slow, brunch-filled beginning allowed us time to get word that the gates to Liberty State Park were staying locked. Second downpour of the weekend. We stayed in to wait the storm out, watching the trending topics on Twitter tell of antsy crowds in holding pens; doors opening, then closing, then opening, then closing; a pervasive horse-shit smell.
Yes, hash-tag journalism. Kinda sad, I know. But whatever ' last night we watched jaw-dropped as My Bloody Valentine wailed on "You Made Me Realise" for 9 minutes and 40 seconds. Friday we saw Jay-Z do "No Sleep Till Brooklyn" in its entirety. FTW, we can miss a weak and swampy concluding day.
More photos and incomplete festival reportage when I'm home from North Jerz.
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