Archive: August, 2009
"So, do you and Trudy practice that
(I skipped last week due to a late night viewing of District 9 ' worth it! ' which prevented me from catching the ep until later in the week, so I'll try to weave in some second episode details for discussion.)
The boys are caught up in the auditions for the Ann-Margaret-alike contest for the new commercials for Pepsi's Patio ' a diet soda aimed at women who want a girl similar to the Bye, Bye Birdie starlet to anchor their campaign. Peggy still doesn't seem too pleased with the concept, despite last week's revelation that her sexiness is intangible and she has control over it (which led her to love and leave the poor young'un she met at the BK club). During auditions, Pete and Ken come to tell Paul, Pegs and Smitty (who we haven't heard much from this season) that Creative will have to toil for Bacardi over the weekend, rather than attend Cooper and Jane's soiree with the rest of management. Needless to say, they're pissed.
Despite being married to Dr. Douche, Joan's still at work, much to Jane's glee. The meet in the halls and play power dynamics, until Jane caps it off, asking Joan to have 'one of the girls' attend to her driver. Good thing too, 'cause had it gone on any longer, Joan would have most likely clawed Jane's face off, getting blood all over that beautiful black and white diamond dress. Looks like Peggy's got a new girl as well ' Olive ' who is noticeably less hot than Joan, as are most women.
Last week, the Drapers invited (read: forced) Betty's dad, Gene, to stay at their home. Gene decides to spend some quality time with his granddaughter by having her read The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire and essentially telling her the apocalypse is coming. Later, Sally steals $5 from dear, ol' grandpappy, which everyone blames on Gene because he's old and curmudgeonly.
Joan and Dr. Douche set up for a cocktail party. One of the reasons Mad Men is lauded for being so tightly written is that you aren't treated to superfluous scenes. Joan and Dr. Douche got married but we never saw it because we didn't need to see it. Same with Sal and his gal. Instead, we as viewers are only given the bare bones of what we need without all of the bullshit small talk, much like Don Draper himself. Joan spouts off Emily Post-isms but truly rues the day when Dr. Douche says, 'I don't want to fight anymore.' Joan comes back with 'Well, then stop talking.' God, did I mention I love Joan? Oh wait ' there's more ' JOAN PLAYS THE ACCORDION! Any idea whether that was Christina Hendrick's voice singing 'C'est Magnifque'? Either way, this whole shebang's a ticking time bomb (why did one of the dinner party guests tell Joan not to have a baby yet? And why didn't Dr. Douche tell her about a botched operation at work?!) I'm just waiting to see who lights fuse.
The boys and Pegs are having a tough time of it with Bacardi and Smitty suggests grass to spark their creativity. Paul calls a Princeton bud to purchase some bud and they get high, sans Peggy, who busts in and confidently says, 'My name is Peggy Olsen and I want to smoke some marijuana.' And she does. And that's the moment, out of all moments, I want to hop into my television and give Peggy a high five.
Roger Sterling in motherfucking blackface singing to his (very) young bride. Don's clearly bored and wants to leave but Betty insists on staying. So Don heads to bar and expertly makes Old-Fashioneds (swoon!) for Eddie Harris from Major League as they both reminisce about how they used to be on the other side, serving the drinks rather than taking them. Also, Don/Dick used to piss in the trunks of people's cars, only serving to up his badass factor. While Don walks down poor folks' lane, Betty gets her bulging belly felt by a random man at the party, who we later learn works for Gov. Nelson Rockefeller. She gives him a sly smile. The minx even flirts when she's knocked up! Hell yeah, Betty! Meanwhile, Trudy and Pete show off their choreographed dance routine, which seems to infuriate' Harry Crane's wife ' the former phone company worker whose husband just happened to become management. She doesn't have Trudy and Betty's upper crust grace and Harry seems ignorant to the fact that she's only treading water around the other two ladies. Where's this going? Any ideas from the peanut gallery?
Back at the office, Creative continues to blaze, which leads to Kinsey getting pissed at Princeton Pal for making fun of his low status, Joizy accent and dismissal from the Tigertones (!!!!!!!!!!), his college a cappella group. As any a cappella fight will certainly lead, Paul and Princeton Pal make up via duet and Peggy ends the scene with, 'I'm so high.' Me too, Pegs, me too.
Gene and Draper maid/babysitter/cook/surrogate mom Carla go head-to-head about the missing money. I really like the Carla character and, while I understand why she's kept in the periphery like most people of color on the show, I think a Carla storyline would be pretty interesting, especially involving Don. But, did you see that dude make an Old-Fashioned? Anything involving Don would be interesting. Sally pretends to find the money, telling one of those lies that only a child finds so believable, and Gene just looks at her blankly.
Apparently, Paul's a paranoid stoner, convinced that Cuba's going to attack and kill 'em all, while Smitty wants to go on the roof, which inspires Peggy to think of an ad for Bacardi in which there is a hammock strung up between two clotheslines above the cityscape. She leaves the boys, with Smitty gazing at her as she leaves, saying 'I'm in a very good place right now.' Do I smell a Smitty-Peggy love story? Sure, Princeton Pal hit on Peggy, but it was Smitty who told him to cut it out. This may be a cause of watching too much CW but I'm taking what I can get.
Back at the party, Jane's trashed and blurts out that she knew Betty and Don would reunite, no matter what the problem was. Betty storms off and Jane accosts Don. 'You don't like me, do you?' she says. 'I'm a nice person.' But you don't follow the rules Don has laid out, dear, and therefore you're inconsequential. Sterling confronts Don about their crumbling relationship, saying he's simply too happy. 'No one thinks you're happy," Don says. "They think you're foolish." As he leaves the club, he sees Jane and Roger slow-dancing together. Maybe they are happy? He approaches his own wife and they embrace.
No shocks and awes during this one but I'm thinking that 'My Old Kentucky Home' was one of those set up episodes that Matthew Weiner is so good at. He's planting the clues; we just need to find them.
So what did you guys think?
|Graywolf, 244 pp., $22, September|
The premise of the book is exciting ' a murder mystery as written through the memoir of an unrelated man. Elliott approaches the book with a clear idea of what he wants. He's going to examine Reiser and Sturgeon and break apart the red herrings in the case (like Sturgeon's outlandish murder confession), all while examining his own troubled life and making comparisons between the two. But the result, much like Elliott's life, is more jumbled mess than brilliant expos'.
Throughout the book, Elliott feels unfocused on anything besides how miserable his life is.' The story begins with Elliott's childhood, setting the stage for turmoil with a tale about his lying, seemingly psychotic father.' From there, the author jumps from mini-story to mini-story, telling about his troubled youth, his drug addictions, his self-destructive love life and lack of inspiration to write, all while occasionally throwing in something about Reiser's trial.' By the time you actually get to the play-by-play description of the trial, you feel like Elliott's dragged you on a bad acid trip while watching his home movies.
By the end of the book I was happy to just take the trial's conclusion and never look back. There was closure for both Reiser and Elliott, but it should have come much sooner. Despite its short length, the author crams as much in as humanly possible: the trial, the background of Reiser and Sturgeon, his own stories and random pop culture references.' Elliot would have done better to condense or separate his multiple issues from that of the murder.' He stabs at various attempts to parallel the two, but the similarities fail to really tie the book together.
The Showdown: Like Janis if she laid off the booze and pills and wholly dedicated herself to psychedelics
Monday: Get struck by the onset of awesome provided by noisy drum and bass duo Lightening Bolt. And how about 1026 artist Andrew Jefferey Wright getting in on the act with some opening stand-up comedy? With BoBo, Drums Like Machine Guns, 8 p.m., $10, First Unitarian Church, 2125 Chestnut St., r5productions.com.
Wednesday: Why am I recommending this? 'Cause a show headlined by a band called the Crazy Dream Band that can hang at Danger Danger is gonna be trippy as shit to watch. Plus, check out some of those MySpace tunes, the lead singer has pipes like Janis if she laid off the booze and pills and wholly dedicated herself to psychedelics. If only she could be that focused. With Hex Nine, Serpents of W.I.S.D.O.M., Truffle Hunger, 8 p.m., Danger Danger Gallery, 5013 Baltimore Ave.
Thursday: How much did you enjoy last week's cover story? I certainly did (::cough, cough::). Experience Bobby Zankel, the jazz musician/prison music teacher (go to there to also listen to some Zankel tunes), with his Warriors of the Wonderful Sound. 9:30 p.m., $10, Tritone, 1508 South St., 215-545-0475.
Friday: Not only does Miss Tess and the Bon Ton Parade have an excellent name but their titular lead singer combines a folky style with her smoky, jazzy voice. 8 p.m., $16/20, Psalm Salon, 5841 Overbrook Ave., 215-477-7578.
The newest from the Good Night, and Good Luck team (an excellent movie if there ever was one) is based on Jon Ronson's The Men Who Stare at Goats, about the military's exploration of New Age-y concepts in order to fight the various wars on terror. If each war subsequent to WWII has redefined the way we go into battle, the military was looking to train an elite group of men to push the bounds of combat to the cerebral, training them to hone their psychic powers. Don't you wish this was fictional? Sigh. How underfunded are public schools again?
While the concept may appear ludicrous in truth, the movie looks like it's going to fucking own. Much like his forbearer Cary Grant, I've always like George Clooney in his comedic roles. I think one of the reasons Clooney is the consummate star, is that he's not afraid to make himself look ridiculous. So while he's impossibly suave and debonair, he also makes himself out to be the perfect drinking buddy, that guy you will always have a good time with. If you want to get into the deepest depths of how I over analyze the shit out of celebrity culture, he does the impossible by embodying the God and the Mirror ' you worship him, but you also see yourself in him. And look at Jeff Bridges slipping back into his Lebowski jelly sandals! I'm also glad to see Ewan McGregor back in the game. It's been awhile since he's been in anything worth checking out, although I'm dying to see I Love You Phillip Morris, where he and Jim Carrey fall in love while incarcerated, but a gay prison romantic comedy isn't the easiest of sells.
The Men Who Stare at Goats opens November 6.
Ground Cover: NYT hits up some of Philly's best galleries and collectives, discovers our "hardy, low-budget, DIY, do-it-for-love creativeness"
|fabric workshop and museum reppin' philly in the NYT|
Also on Kennedy's tour were various Mural Arts Program murals, the Museum of Mourning Art in Drexel Hill and Fleisher/Ollman Gallery; he didn't quite make it to PIFAS, but maybe next time. (He also checked out Matyson, Little Fish and Paesano's. Good taste, friend.)
Here's a snippet:
There is a particularly Philadelphian brand of hardy, low-budget, do-it-yourself, do-it-for-love creativeness evident in art and art spaces across the city. It is a climate that, as new as it sometimes feels, has been embodied and nurtured for decades by organizations like two I included on my itinerary: the Fabric Workshop and Museum, founded in 1977 as a way to combine world-class artistic collaborations with community outreach and education, and the Mural Arts Program, which grew out of the city's anti-graffiti efforts and has worked with neighborhood residents and artists for 25 years to create more than 2,800 towering murals on walls throughout the city.
In this week's Kaleidoscope, I wrote about Patton Oswalt. Here's what I said:
Patton Oswalt doesn't push it. The man who dubbed KFC's Famous Bowl a "failure pile in a sadness bowl" prefers simply to stand there riffing on the mundane and basking in his own nerdy glory. This is a big week for Oswalt. His newest special, My Weakness is Strong, is released on DVD and he's getting his first big-screen starring role (unless you count the titular voice in Ratatouille) in Big Fan.
This is by far my favorite Oswalt routine, from his Lollipops & Werewolves DVD:
I got to talk to Oswalt about his role in Big Fan. Here's an excerpt where we talked about the nature of fandom:
CP: You say you aren't a hardcore sports fan, but you talk about how much of a geek you are a lot in your standup. Do you see the two areas of fandom mirrored at all?
PO: I certainly do, there's a definite parallel. It's the same spark, it's just a different fuel. Like, a fanatic Christian and a fanatic Muslim could find so much in common because they have a spark. A Philadelphia Phil or a Paul could find something in common, but they have different fuel and there's something so tragic about that.
CP: It's interesting to hear people talk about sports teams as "we" instead of "they" ' like when I'm at a bar and some guys are talking about the Birds, it's "We're on the field." Is that the way it is with your fans, even though it's not live or necessarily as active an experience?
PO: Definitely. People literally treat movies like they're their teams. They treat filmmakers like they know them ' "Oh, I think he's really going to pull it out this time." They get into the lives of their heroes.
You can read the rest over at citypaper.net/movies. Did any of you guys catch My Weakness is Strong on Comedy Central last Sunday? I forgot to set my DVR was pissed when I came home and it wasn't there. What did you think? Better than Werewolves & Lollipops? Even the Comedians of Comedy? Hit me up with whether I should move it to the top of my Netflix queue.
Big Fan opens tomorrow at the Ritz at the Bourse.
Youth in Revolt was one of those adolescent books that binds you to whoever else read it ' like Francesca Lia Block books or finding that other disaffected girl who found their mom's dog-eared copy of The Bell Jar. So when I heard Michael Cera was set to take on YiR protagonist Nick Twisp, I was worried.Twisp doesn't have the awkward affability that makes Cera so likable, from Arrested Development to Superbad to Juno. Twisp is much darker and sardonic than Cera, making this the first time Cera isn't playing "Cera." But this trailer gives me hope, especially when we get to see Francois Dillinger for the first time. I'm jazzed to see Adhir Kalyan who was the best part of both Paul Blart: Mall Cop and the second best part of Fired Up!, two movies that superficially shouldn't have best parts but do. Plus, can you go wrong with Zach Galifinakis? I think not.
P.S.: If you ever want to feel like an angsty teen, read Youth in Revolt. You will so not regret it.
Check out this video featuring Chunky Move, a dance troupe that's performing on Thu.-Sat., Sept. 17-19 at the upcoming Live Arts/Philly Fringe Festival. Don't like dance? Think it's boooring? This is the type of work that elicits comments like "this is the coolest thing I've ever seen, duuuude!" from people who'd go into a coma watching ballet. Plus, says the troupe, the "work uses movement- and sound-responsive projections that morph human figures into light and sound and back again." Woa.
We told you what we thought about Amanda Blank's new album I Love You, but more importantly, what do the senior stars on this week's episode of Breakfast at Sulimay's think? Suprisingly, the adorable old farts kinda dug it ' the most critical comment came from Joe (of course), who said it wasn't "his cut cup of tea" but that "the kids would like it." Bill and Ann, however, both grooved to "Make It, Take It," and Ann especially liked its "Philly sound." Funny comments all around, but still, am I the only one who thinks the beginning part where they show Joe simply listening to the music ' looking utterly deadpan ' is the most hilarious?
The Philly-based PIMA Group wants it for their upcoming dance performance in May '10. Any piece of "found sound" is welcomed, and will be accepted through the end of December. (Read more info. about requirements here.) And if you want to know what you're submitting work to, take a look at the group's performance at NEXUS in the video above. Be patient: It starts out slow, but right around the 4:00 mark, it gets satisfyingly bizarre.
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