ceebeegee: (Mad Men)
Episode was GREAT this past Sunday. I knew the case they were referring to, although I didn't know much about it other than he killed a bunch of nurses. Just another inadequate man who takes it out on women but let's not talk about the fact that serial and mass murders overwhelmingly target women--can't start a conversation, we might actually want to change the status quo! But what a way to tie in all that misogyny--especially creepy how it actually gets commercialized here (when Ginsberg sells the "Stalking Cinderella" ad campaign). Grandma is another victim-blamer--yes, Pauline, those nurses ASKED to be raped and murdered! Disgusting but her attitude is sadly all too prevalent. Some women refuse to confront the fact that they are just as vulnerable--in order to feel safer, they twist it so that the victim *must* have had some kind of agency. They said the same sort of things about poor Elizabeth Short (the Black Dahlia)--she "was seeking death" or she was a prostitute. All nonsense. Also disturbing and sad (and again, still prevalent) was the leering at the crime scene photos. Allow the murdered some dignity, for God's sake. I feel the same way about rubberneckers on the highway--someone's death is not your entertainment.

Peggy ruminating on her "masculine" tendencies was interesting in light of the (later debunked) speculation that Speck had an extra Y chromosome, and supposedly this was associated with extra-aggressive males. Is rape and murder of women part of what it means to be male? When Joan threw out Greg, she specifically referenced his lack of manhood *and* hearkened back to the rape in the office.

GREAT episode. Kind of wish they had addressed the Kitty Genovese rape and murder last season--that had as much of an impact (especially locally) as did the nurses' murders (although the Genovese murder was in March of '64 and S4 started later than that). But the Genovese case was HUGE and better known than the nurses' murders. Can't wait to see how Weiner & Company play out the continuing devolution of NYC and the US (in terms of crime) in the late '60s. It's gonna be a long time before things get better. (I would LOVE for this show to address the blackout and the looting in Bushwick but the show isn't supposed to go that far into the future.)
ceebeegee: (Beyond Poetry)
Am completely addicted to Game of thrones now--I watched the pilot, didn't really get into it but then started watching it a few weeks ago. LOVE IT. I am finishing up a Clio entry on the historical parallels. Love it, love it, finished all of season 1 last night.

That said, I really, really wish I could find a blog online that discusses it without heavy-handed hints about the books (from sites that are supposed to be spoiler-free). I have NOT read the books and won't until the series ends. I've already been spoiled for a couple of major events and it's pretty annoying.

Favorite characters:

*Tryion. He is awesome and hilarious. LOVED his "confession" at the Eyrie.

*Dany! She is fierce and wonderful and queenly.

*Sansa, oddly. She's just such a young teenager--she's so timeless. And watching her struggle to adapt to The Game is simultaneously thrilling and heart-breaking. LOVED that last scene between her and Joffrey and the trellis. Things are gonna be different, I think.

*Arya and Bran just make me squee. They're so cute and the actors are so terrific.

*Vicerys. He is sadly hottt to me. I know I shouldn't find him attractive, being crazy and abusive and all, but that scene in the tub was whitehottt. And hilarious. "Wait a minute--what am I paying you for?"

It was nice to see Argus Filch manning the Twins--maybe he can help Sam get into Hogwarts :) Or maybe Tonks could help out!

Moar dragons! Moar direwolves!


Jul. 8th, 2011 04:23 pm
ceebeegee: (Default)
Dallas is starting up production again! Aw yeah!

I'll have to change my ringtone back to the theme :)
ceebeegee: (Mad Men)
Last night I went over to Tesse's for our weekly Mad Men date. Okay, Matthew Weiner? You need to stop writing Betty as misogyny-bait. I get tired of Betty doing something to her kids that is going to provoke a torrid flood of shitty comments about how horrible she is. I know, I know--the only good female characters in MM are Peggy and Joan. The quotient has been filled and all the others are: narcissistic bitches (Betty) (that's a direct quotation, BTW); stalkers (Suzanne Farrell), boring, superior and anachronistic (Dr. Faye Miller), stupid whores who should've known better than to expect the slightest consideration after getting boinked by the boss (Allison)...I know I should just accept the conventional fan wisdom but I don't. All of these characters are real and dimensional--there are perhaps one or two unredeemably bad characters in my opinion on the show--Lee garner, Jr. (God, what a great villain, "puddid awn, Roguh!") and Duck, and even Duck has redeeming qualities, they're just not enough in my eyes. (I loathe--LOATHE--Duck because of what he did to Chauncey. I hate Duck more than I hate Joan's husband.) Betty is not a narcissistic bitch--she's a woman emerging from an extremely damaged and damaging marriage where her husband undermined her every chance he got. (And not because he's a horrible person but because Don is also damaged.)

And as I keep pointing out, things were different back then. Parents disciplined differently. Other people's parents even disciplined differently (season 1, when the neighbor smacks the kid who's not his who's running through the house at Sally's birthday party). Getting smacked in the face WAS a severe punishment but yes, it was done. As I posted on Facebook, I was smacked in the face by an aunt at a much younger age than Sally (I was about 5-6), and harder, and no one did anything about it--and that was in the '70s. (And my aunt was MUCH more physically imposing than Betty, she was at least three times my size, a very tall, athletic woman.) It may also be a WASP thing--as a cultural generalization, they're not particularly touchy-feely and they do discipline physically. I was also spanked, as were my brothers, and not just with the hand, I got the paddle. We also had our mouths washed out with soap. I have mixed feelings about all of this: for one thing, I gave my aunt a very wide berth after that and never forgot what she did. And I don't think parents should spank with objects (like a paddle or a belt). But I do think spanking on the butt, with a hand, is fine. (It goes without saying I obviously don't think other parents should have the right to physically discipline a child who's not theirs. On the other hand, feel free to step in and scold the child, if they need it--it takes a village.) Honestly I do not see the harm in that--the butt has a lot of fat which is why it's painful but doesn't do any damage. And I don't think I was scarred for life by having my mouth washed out either. I remember my parents (by that I mean my dad and stepmother) asking me after I became an adult about being spanked--I said of course I hated it. "So...?" "So I tried not to misbehave after that!" They both laughed.

ANYWAY. My point is that I really do see Don as being just as bad a parent in his own way--yes, he is more easy-going but he can be, because he is there less. Obviously he's there less now because of the divorce, but even before, during the marriage, he was:

*working all the time and skipping Thanksgiving (season 1)
*skipping out on his daughter's birthday party to go get drunk
*leaving family events to go hook up with Bobbie Barrett (the country club event)
*drunk-driving with Bobbie Barrett in the middle of the night
*flitting off to California for a month
*leaving the house so he can spend the night with his DAUGHTER'S TEACHER.

Even in this episode he had a date when the kids were there, and later on he admitted he had mixed feelings about being around them. Betty even tried to point this out to him in Season 2, how much more time she spends with them than he does, when she was getting frustrated with Bobby's behavior and said "you're not with them all day like I am." No, you're not, Don. And apparently you don't want to be any more than Betty does. Maybe if you were, you'd have as short a fuse as she does. It's very easy to be the Good Parent when you're never there--you have less time in which to make a mistake. And it's to Betty's credit that even after her horrible experiences with a psychiatrist in Season 1, she was able to listen to Henry's advice and see about getting one for Sally.

But can I ask, why was everyone SO upset about Sally's Adventures in Hair-Styling? Kids do that. Not only did I cut my little brother's hair (he had big fat blond curls all over his head, like Freddie Bobbsey and hated them. So I obligingly cut them off for him.) I also did the same thing to myself when I was in the 8th grade, cut my own bangs. (This is one time where my urgency to ACT did not pay off--huge mistake.) Either time, nobody punished me. Kids do this sort of thing.

Tesse and I were shocked at Roger's behavior toward the Honda executives but then I started thinking about it--if Roger really did fight in the Pacific theater during WWII, I think his hatred is more understandable. Yes, what Joan said is absolutely right--you fought to make the world a better place and now it is. Absolutely. But sometimes you can't let go of things so quickly. The Pacific theater was brutal. Read about the Bataan Death March sometime, it was horrible. Really, just heart-breaking, they would just behead weak prisoners, or any kind of prisoner, for no reason. Incredibly depressing. There's other stuff as well, like the Rape of Nanking.. It's absolutely to Japan's credit that they rejected their brutal militarism after the war (even to the point that the Japanese Constitution now prohibits war) but someone like Roger may not be able to let go of those feelings so easily. Anyway, I think he's entitled to them.
ceebeegee: (Mad Men)
I've seen this one several times now but it never fails to make me laugh. "Smoke and drink constantly."

Love this show, can't wait!
ceebeegee: (Tatiana the Sausage Kitty)
So I've been watching various Little House on the Prairie DVDs from different seasons. I didn't watch that show religiously or anything when I was a kid, but I did watch it, although since I never read the books as a kid, the whole prairie girl fad (including Holly Hobbie, although I did have some HH merchandise) missed me. (I did however read Caddie Woodlawn in the 7th grade and LOVED it--I loved her tomboyish ways and her sassy red hair.) Anyway so I remembered this one episode--something about Christmas and a blizzard and the kids getting caught in it--the image that stuck with me was that someone had dropped their Christmas presents on the snow as they trudged through the blizzard. I looked it up and got the DVD through Netflix and watched it this weekend. WOW. I think Little House has something of a rep for saccharine TV but that episodes on that disc are genuinely powerful. The first episode is called "The Bully Boys"--it's about this family of three brothers who move to Walnut Grove and they throw their weight around by threatening and swindling the townsfolk. The youngest brother is still in school--there are no older boys because it's still planting season, so he is able to get away with a lot. The most shocking moment was when, during a dodgeball game, he grabs the ball and nails this little kid. Mary steps up to reprove him and he hauls off and hits her. I mean, he really slugs her, right in the face. I can't even imagine a scene like that happening in a show today without it being considered abuse, whereas Mary deals with it on her own (she never tells her parents and seems more chagrined than terrified). And then later the two older brothers actually grab Mrs. Ingalls and maul her. Michael Landon has a terrific scene when he demands that she tell him what they did--"did they put their hands on you?" and then he storms off to beat the crap out of them. Go Charles, with your oh-so-'70s hair! The weirdest scene is when the kids finally stand up to the youngest boy--they all rush him, knock him down, and pile on, kicking and punching. It's staged at this rather light-hearted scene, with a pan back showing all the kids punching the bully, and Laura dancing around punching the air. Weird! Yeah, he's a shit and deserves it, but it's not a lark. It's kind of sad when kids are pushed to that kind of violence.

The "Blizzard" episode is even more powerful. Nobody, apparently, is aware that a blizzard is forecast and when it starts snowing flurries Miss Beadle dismisses all the kids early since it's Christmas Eve. The kids all get caught in this blizzard, the mothers all come to the schoolhouse expecting to find their kids--and then they wait with Doc Baker, hoping the kids will find their way back. Miss Beadle is horrified and guilt-stricken--there's an incredibly sweet moment when Willie Oleson (who reminds Bart and me SO MUCH of our cousin Skip, it's scary--they look so much alike) sees how terrible she feels and tells her "it wasn't your fault." The single best moment in the episode, though, is when one man, a father, comes in with a couple of kids. One of the mothers goes over to him and says quietly "where's my husband? They said he was with you." The guy looks at her and says exhaustedly "after we found Joey and Alicia he went off on his own, to look for Henry." She gives him a long look and finally says "but Henry's here." It is an amazingly powerful moment--you know the man is going to die. And then when they actually show him dying--he stumbling around calling for his son and he says "Henry!! My God, boy, where are you?" and his voice breaks. And they actually show him dying, on network TV. I had to turn away, it was so depressing. Very strong TV.

And then when Mr. Edwards comes in with his two kids--all the kids have been found and are recovering and everyone is hugging Mr. Edwards and it seems the people are all rejoicing--until the camera pulls back to show the afore-mentioned woman, now a widow, watching with her son. They are not part of the celebration.

With all that, and God love her but Melissa Sue Gilbert was not a terribly strong child actor (nor, it must be said, was Allson Arngrim, although they never gave her much to do but be a brat). Anyway MSG did the spunky thing fine but she could be a little shrill sometimes.
ceebeegee: (Alice the Queen)
I just upgraded my cable package to get Showtime (quite a step for me--I never get the premium channels, that's what Netflix is for). Showtime is premiering a new series in April called The Tudors--it's about Henry VIII mainly. They're saturating the subways with print ads that make it look quite fun--they're trying to market it as a kind of historical soap. However the nitpicker in me is grumbling about the actor playing Henry--he is far too slight and dark-looking. Henry was quite tall and broad in his youth (though not fat--that happened later in his life) and very fair. Reddish-blonde hair and fair skin--Jonathan Rhys-Meyers doesn't look like him at all. He'd just better be good in the part.

One of the ads says something like "The King's best friend is having an affair with the King's sister." They're talking about Charles Brandon, a very close friend of Henry's (he was the son of William Brandon who carried the standard into Bosworth Field next to Henry VII and died in the battle (killed, I believe, by Richard III)--Charles was basically raised with the Royal Family). Henry VIII's younger sister, Princess Mary, had a crush on him that developed into a full-blown romance (kind of like Princess Margaret and Peter Townsend, now that I think of it, and when her marriage to Louis of France ended (he was much older) she and Charles married in secret and then begged Henry for forgiveness which he eventually gave. Mary and Charles were the grandparents of Lady Jane Grey, the original nine-day-wonder. Jane was eventually executed for the various rebellions on her behalf thanks to her dumbass father and one of my Tudor books ends her chapter with "sometime later the mangled corpse of Henry VIII's great-niece was unceremoniously thrust into St. Peter's ad Vincula, between two former queens. The debt incurred at Cluny Chapel 39 years before had been repaid at last." St. Peter's was where Catherine Howard and Anne Boleyn were buried, and Cluny Chapel was where Charles and Mary married in secret. I thought that was a rather poetic way of characterizing Jane's fate.

However, the site for the series has Princess Margaret--Henry's older sister--as a major character and doesn't list Mary at all. I hope they're not conflating the two Princesses!--Margaret was no Mary and certainly not the sexpot shown on the site. Margaret married James IV of Scotland at 13 and had kind of a rough time of it there--she sure wasn't vamping it up with Charles Brandon.

I'm such a nitpicker. But I'm sure I'll enjoy it anyway.
ceebeegee: (Magical Dance)
I downloaded a couple of albums last night from iTunes--The Goodbye Girl and The Wedding Singer. I used to have the first one but I lost the tape a few years ago. It's not a bad score--some of the songs are quite sweet, like "I Think I Can Play This Part" and "Paula." "Richard Interred" is also very clever. The score doesn't blow me away exactly but I'm enjoying listening to it, probably because I love the movie so much. But the Lucy I hear through the songs seems a little too knowing--yes, Lucy is precocious but she's still 10 years old, a little girl. This Lucy seems older, like she's 12, and sounds older as well. Martin Short is an inspired choice to play Elliott, but I'm not sure about Bernadette--she seems a little too adorable for Paula, who is kind of a shrew in the first half of the story. I'm curious as to why the show did so poorly with two such big stars in the leads--it may have been due to the whole Richard III sequence, which is pretty dated nowadays. Come to think of it, I can't remember how they handled that in the Jeff Daniels-Patricia Heaton TNT remake a few years ago but then they missed a LOT in that remake. They left unchanged the things they should've changed and vice versa--the original is something of a period piece, and the remake missed a lot of that. I posted on the imdb message board about the anachronisms (or just plain bad research):

*Paula auditions for the show on the stage of a theater. This is not how directors have auditions now in New York City--they rent studio space. Auditioning in the theater makes it look like A Chorus Line.

*The remake takes place in Greenwich Village instead of the Upper West Side (in the original). There is not one grocery store anywhere in the Village where you can have two shopping carts side by side (when he comes up next to her and suggests they combine food expenses)--grocery stores are absolutely tiny in that area of the city.

*In the Greenwich Village of 2004, there is no way you'd have 3 muggers brazenly stealing purses in the daytime. Even at night that would be a big stretch--the Village is one of the safest areas of the city and is packed with people and they would be caught immediately. In the original, which took place in the UWS in the late '70s, it was believable because the city was a very different place then, with a high crime rate. But even supposing 3 muggers were stupid enough to try that in the Village in this era, it's *completely* ridiculous that they'd be able to get away that quickly--in a car? The Village has narrow short streets that are difficult to navigate--they would've hit a red light immediately, or come up behind another car. It's just not believable.

*How can a single, barely-employed mother afford even half the rent on a two-bedroom apartment in the West Village? It's an extremely expensive neighborhood. For that matter how can TONY afford it? Off-Broadway actors make crap for wages. Again, it was more plausible in the original, because the Upper West Side in the '70s was much more affordable (even adjusting for inflation).

*Sigh.* Why remake such a classic movie? To gild refined gold, to paint the lily...

However, I am LOVING The Wedding Singer--I enjoyed the show very much, and the score is just terrific. The opening number, "It's Your Wedding Day," is so soaring and fun, you just want to start belting it out. Also great are "Someday" (Julia's anthem) and "Casualty of Love"--hilarious! Just a great score.
ceebeegee: (CAWFEE)
I was able to sleep some last night--the Terrible Tabbies were much quieter. But I did wake up around 5 am and couldn't get back to sleep. The apartment leaks a lot of light--the window is so big, it's difficult to mask the light completely. God, my ass is dragging today.

Mickey and Sami had their show at the Knitting Factory Friday which was pretty cool. I'd never been there before and I'd never heard Mickey's music outside of Apathy. Afterward some of us hung out and I got in a long, cool conversation with Silas, Sami's fiance and our Starveling. He asked me what Holla Holla was thinking about doing next--I said I had not thought that far ahead, and we kicked around some ideas. Of course I always like to do the comedies in summer, but Twelfth Night *is* done an awful lot. We talked about the Scottish Play, although my main objection to that is the same one I have to Lear--Holla Holla's mission is implicitly feminist (in part), and I don't particularly want to do a play that focuses so much on a guy, unless I cast that role as a woman. Silas and I talked about this--he said he'd seen a Lear where it was cast as a woman, which struck me as odd. I'm all about the recasting of men's roles with women, IF it works (heck, I'm playing Puck, and I'm dying to play Mercutio sometime) but Lear seems like a role that only a man could play. His ego seems very male (not to say women don't have egos--of course we do, it's just his seems particularly masculine); his testing of his daughters seems very male. OTOH, Lillian Hellman's The Little Foxes has Lear-ish echoes and has a woman in the Lear role.

Silas also said he wanted to show us what he could really do--he indicated he hadn't really prepared for his audition for Midsummer. I can't remember what his prepared monologue was, but I *do* remember his reading of Bottom's stuff--he was fantastic. I told him he had NOTHING to apologize for--he blew Jason and me away. He was also talking up the histories but I gotta say, the histories are not that interesting to me, except maybe for Richard III, 'cause he's such a badass. I like my highs and lows. I would LOVE to do The Tempest but--see objection above re: Lear. Maybe Romeo and Juliet...I *love* that one. But there are so few women's roles in it...I could cast Mercutio as a female, and...I'd have to reread it to see who else I might cast as a woman.

Melissa (our First Fairy), Jason, Chris and Mickey all descended on my apartment on Saturday for a production meeting/rehearsal. Jason and Melissa went over her FF stuff, and Mickey and I discussed the music, and Mickey gave me shit for not casting any guys as the fairies! Although, since Mickey is our new composer/accompanist, he will be onstage with Titania's court, and all bedecked out as a fairy. Heh heh heh...After Melissa left, I popped in my DVD of The Brady Bunch Variety Hour. Their reactions were gratifying--it's impossible to describe how truly wretched that show was. When it got to the part where Greg and Mrs. Brady sing "All by Myself" as a duet, all three of them visibly recoiled and cried out. The '70s were the high-water mark for bad variety show TV.
ceebeegee: (golden hearts)
Last week I bought the Season 1 & 2 DVDs of The Facts of Life (the TV show)--they FINALLY released it. Yay! This show was one of my big favorites during my early adolescence (I lost interest a bit after they entered the "Over Our Heads" years--couldn't stand those nasty '80s mullets all of them seemed to have). My favorite season was the first, which was very different from the other--the show had seven main girls instead of four, and they lived in a dormitory where Mrs. Garret was the house mother. There were a LOT of blondes, including my favorite, Blair. She's remembered as the snobby rich girl, but her character was a lot wilder--she dated a LOT, and even had to fight off an older guy in a van on one date. She was in a clique where the girls--*gasp*--smoked pot. The best was when Blair ever so delicately hinted that Cindy, the tomboy who played baseball and ran track, might be gay. "You're really WEIRD with all that HUGGING and 'I love you'--you'd just better be CAREFUL." Even at the tender of age of 11, I knew what she meant--that was eye-opening stuff for that era! Especially coming from a Mousketeer (Lisa Whelchel and one of the other girls, Julie Piekarski, had both been on the '70s-era The New Mickey Mouse Club which I also watched religiously with my BF Beth. We even choreographed our own dances in the back yard. "Hurry, hurry grab a seat/This is to the rhythm of the Mouse-ka-beat/We're gonna sing/We're gonna shout/We're gonna show you what it's all about/It's Showtime...with the Mouseketeers." I ADORED all those disco-tastic color-coordinated jumpsuits they had on).

Molly Ringwald was also in the first season, and Julie Anne Haddock (who'd played the youngest daughter in The Great Santini) played Cindy, the afore-mentioned lesbionic athlete. And if anyone remembers that classic '80s cheese-fest, Zapped!, Felice Schachter was also a regular cast member. After the first season, though, the long knives came out and they fired four of the girls (Molly, Julie Piekarksi, Julie Anne Haddock and Felice) and then hired Nancy McKeon to play Jo, the tough-as-nails biker from the Bronx who fought with Blair at every opportunity. The show became different--and, I must admit, better-written. The smaller focus lent itself to better character development, and there were some genuinely sweet moments between the girls, as when Blair goes after a family friend--a teenage boy who attends the school down the road--who asked Jo to a dance but instead, took her out on the 9th green to pressure her for sex, saying later to Blair, "c'mon, she's that kind of girl..." I love it that her sense of sisterhood--and she and Jo were arch-rivals--was stronger than her desire to feel appreciated by the guy (and of course she also recognizes what he's saying is an insult to all women). Interestingly, after sacking all those girls, they still used them for featured guest roles and under 5s, which couldn't have been easy for the fired girls.
ceebeegee: (Default)
I was watching the E!THS about Hugh Hefner and Playboy last night. I have mixed feelings about HH--to start off with, I do think the photos in Playboy (what I've seen of them) are beautiful. I think they're classic American cheesecake with beautiful women--they're not art per se, because their sole purpose is to get a guy off (art is open-ended, asks questions, challenges), but the photos themselves don't bother me because (from what I've seen) they don't demean women. And although I find HH's self-congratulatory attitude about how he led America out of the Puritan age (whatEVER, Hef! I mean, thank God YOU came along, right? ;) a little nauseating, I will say his ideology has a refreshing awareness of political issues. He's come out for gay rights, freedom of speech, abortion rights, birth control (sure, some of that is self-serving but it's nice SOMEONE is standing up for abortion rights!), safe sex. And of course the magazine has always had good articles and a strong fiction selection. However, I wish the magazine featured a lot more models of color--I think it buys way too much into the construct of cheesecake beauty as tall, busty, blonde. Come on! There are tons of gorgeous women of all colors, races, body types--as open-minded as Hef is and as much as he claims Playboy to set the standard, you'd think he would push that a little more (they have had models of color, just not many).

Now on the other hand--personally, I find the man icky and a little sad. An 80-year-old man is just pathetic when he's surrounded by all those baby-blonde Stepford wives. (I'm not even going to touch why those women stay with him--why the HELL are you wasting your 20s on a man who has a harem? Most of the girlfriends don't actually pose for the magazine so they're certainly not getting much out of the arrangement other than room and board!) I mean, come on, man. No one believes you're actually sleeping with all of them, keeping them satisfied. A woman in her 20s is just coming into the period of her strongest sexual drive, and it only gets stronger as she moves into her 30s. An 80-year-old is just not up to the task. And there is something terribly sad about a 70-plus-year old man who settles down, gets married, has a couple of kids...and still can't hold it together enough, until his wife leaves him, and he goes back to that weird, trying-to-convince-everyone-what-a-blast-I'm having, Peter Pan existence. Underneath it all, Peter Pan was actually quite unhappy--the scene of him staring into the window, saying to Mrs. Darling "We can't both have her, ma'am." The weird thing is, I don't know how much of that is organic--I've read interviews with him, and he comes off as very intelligent and thoughtful. I question how much of a hedonist he truly is, or ever was.

All of that said, he must be doing something right as a father because his two young sons are ADORABLE. So endearing, and sweet--the younger one was saying shyly "I think I would just like to have one girlfriend...I think people are meant to be with one person" and kind of stumbling over it because this is apostasy in the Hefner household! His older daughter, Christie, is smart as a whip too, and is apparently President of the Company. Hefner is a little like Donald and Ivana Trump, who against all odds have three normal, hardworking, likeable, intelligent kids. Go figure!
ceebeegee: (Default)
Paula and I went downtown to Marie's Crisis and the Duplex on Friday. We got there around 11:30 and hung out at Marie's for a bit. We were at the table at the right (in the corner) and lustily singing along--one older guy who looked just like an older Boyd Gaines kept looking back at us and started chatting with me. He was dressed in a suit and I thought maybe he was straight, as he really did seem to be checking me out, but when we started to leave, he asked us where we were going. I said "the Duplex, it's a place similar to this--" and he said "Oh, I know what the Duplex is--hello, I'm a gay man" impatiently which made me laugh all night. So Paula and I met Tesse there and hung out for awhile--some great singing but then they took waaaaaay too long to set up an only mildly funny skit so I started getting impatient, and eventually Paula, Tesse and I left and went back to Marie's. I had fun--I saw Mr. NotBoydGaines again and chatted, and I got a seat at the piano fairly quickly, but rather soon Tesse and Paula had to leave, and I was alone. I stayed for a little while longer, and then left around 2:30.

I slept waaaaay too late--woke up at 2. Oy. Scrubbed clean the apartment (which I usually do on Saturdays) and puttered around getting ready for Duncan's pajama party. I went over to Hoboken around 8:00, and Doug and I rode in with Seth and Rachel, who very kindly gave us a lift. The party was fun. Duncan (and Mickey, whom I met for the first time) live in a shotgun apartment, which I always think have so much character. It was a little hot in the living room from time to time, so I would periodically go into Duncan's room and flop down on the bed in front of Duncan's AC. I wore my peach-colored baby doll nightie, and Doug wore pajama bottoms with nooo top to show off his awesome body. Rowr! Tracy came and was the belle of the ball with her adorable big-eyed self. Yay! So good to see her. Besides Mickey I met Matt who's a playwright, and re-met a friend of Tracy's who saw Trojan Women.

Yesterday Doug and I did very little except sleep, eat and watch TV. We did see most of Norma Rae, which I really liked, not least because of its perfect late-'70s-ness. Sally Rae is sportin' the relaxed bun in back (or else long, loose and hot roller bouncin'--you see this look on early Dallas a lot), and the tight cap sleeves, and most of the older men have absolutely atrocious hair. Men's hair went down the tubes starting around the early '70s and didn't really recover until the late '80s.

After I worked out, Doug and I ate at the Farside. Hoboken does summer really well. I really love sitting at a sidewalk table, enjoying the warm evening air, sipping a beer and just feeling good. God love the summer.
ceebeegee: (Default)
I came home last night and forced myself to relax. I really have a difficult time relaxing--I think that's one reason I like to drink and get massages, because they force your body to slow down. I'm such an A-type personality, I have a hard time slowing down naturally--I always crave stimulation. Even at church or when I'm getting a massage, I'm thinking of ten different things.

So. Last night, came home around 8:30. Did NOT turn on the TV. Made myself sit and finish one of the books I got from the library, Not Much Just Chillin. I sprawled on the big rug, and up in my loft (Tatia, of course, insisted on sprawling fatly on me, in turn). I just lay there and read. Eventually I left to get a quick massage--there's a new Qi Gong place on 9th Ave., a little more expensive than the other places in the neighborhood, but they're open until 11:00. Came back and read some more.

I need to watch less TV. I watch some great stuff (I have two hours' worth of Colonial House on tape, plus A Wrinkle in Time which I'd like to rewatch) but I also watch a lot of crap. I need less stimulation, less background noise.

I want to get cracking on The Illiad. There's so much great stuff out there that I haven't read--a lot of the ancient classics (I'd like to read some Sappho, and some more of the ancient playwrights like Aristophanes), all of F. Scott Fitzgerald, the Lord of the Ring books. Tons and tons of great stuff. There's a classic episode of The Twilight Zone called "Time Enough at Last" about a librarian who is the sole survivor of a nuclear war and is happy because now he can finally read everything he ever wanted to. Naturally he breaks his glasses.
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Okay, so I watched A Wrinkle in Time last night on ABC. Altogether pretty good.

What I didn't like:

*The pacing. Deadly slow. It easily could've been trimmed down from three to two hours.

*The ending. The book's ending is deliberately anti-climactic because they time-tesser back and end up returning home "only" five minutes later. In the movie, they return, there's a big teary reunion of the parents, a big teary farewell with the witches, a gratuitous (although rather sweet) final scene on the starwatching rock between Meg and Calvin AND a voiceover along the lines of "we lived happily ever after."

*The scene where they're naming the various Earth fighters against the dark thing: they name Marie Curie, Einstein, Shakespeare et al. but they leave out the name of Jesus. Come on, guys. That moment is highlighted in the book.

*Mrs. Which (the one with the quotations). Just didn't do me. Way too cutesy.

*The overall feeling of "we're making this for children"--I guess what I mean is excessive sentimentality. The book is fairly unsentimental--maybe her one lapse in that direction is the "dark cloud" that's basically physicalized evil, but I'm not sure I can think of a better way to depict that for children. There's a lot of cutesiness in the movie, mainly in the tone and the actors. Alfre Woodard would've impressed me more if she'd been weirder and thrown away her part more.

*The actors playing the twins. Sandy and Dennys are ostentatiously "normal" kids, as a deliberate contrast to Meg and Charles Wallace, and furthermore they're athletes. These kids looked too quirky, and were dressed up.

Now, what I did like:

*Really, most of it. They did a pretty decent job.

*The three main children (Meg, Charles Wallace and Calvin) are EXCELLENT. Especially the actor playing CW--that is a difficult role to cast, because he has to look 4-5, has to actually BE intelligent, and has to be able really to ACT, because of his takeover by IT. This kid (David Dorfman) rocked. Completely believable in the role.

*Camazotz was fuckin' spooky as hell. They approach the town where all the houses look alike and it's dark and stormy outside--there's a constant greyness. Oh man, it was cool.

*They handled Charles's takeover by IT interestingly--the Man with the Red Eyes almost has to "woo" CW. He plays games with him where he appeals to CW's intelligence and curiosity and it makes sense. They also dramatized the scene where Meg rescues CW which is completely understandable because that scene is almost entirely interior in the book. It would be hard to have a scene in a movie that consists of a kid staring at a brain and his sister thinking about him for several minutes, and finally saying "I love you." In the movie, CW and the man with the red eyes are in a room taunting Meg, and she's taken into several alternative realities, and finally says she loves him, and notices this has a deleterious effect on the Man with the Red Eyes. She repeats it, and busts up the House of IT. IT is revealed beneath the floor as a giant brain with almost-tentacles--creepy as hell.

Other thoughts:

They simplified the message: the book has many messages, which include the power of love (most important, IMO) and especially that love trumps intellect (very interesting in light of how rationalist L'Engle clearly is), the beauty of individuality and the false comfort of conformity, Good vs. Evil. It seemed to me they downplayed the other themes in favor of the beauty of individualty--after Meg rescues CW, she makes a speech to the residents of Camazotz reiterating that "like and equal are not the same." (I wonder if L'Engle was specifically addressing communism with that theme, BTW.)
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I'd LOVE to go to the tanning salon tonight but I must watch The Juggernaut That is Friends, so I know WTF people are talking about tomorrow. (And I do like that show.)

I want it to be Saturday already.
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I watched an A&E documentary on children's (which usually means little girls') pageants last night. I've seen this one before but it's compelling enough to watch multiple times. Read more... )
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Uh. Exhausted today. I stayed up too late last night putting together Doug's costume for Hillside. I hope it works.

While I was sewing, I watched a program on the History Channel about the search for Noah's Ark on Mount Ararat in Turkey. Fa-sci-na-ting. Absolutely fascinating. Apparently there have been many sightings over the years--a couple of people have actually claimed to see an actual ark, with decks and cages and a ladder. Also there have been shadowy photographs and CIA satellite images. Right now the mountain is closed by the government of Turkey because of fighting with the Kurds, but explorers are hoping to reopen it.

Just imagine, if we actually verified Noah's Ark. Just imagine...I would faint. The history...Noah's Ark...
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I'm watching a movie on TV right now--I think it came out in '84. It's a TV miniseries about the Kennedy administration--Martin Sheen is JFK, some guy who played the prosecutor in the Farrah Fawcett TV movie about Diane Downs, "Small Sacrifices," plays RFK and Blair Brown is Jackie. What I like about this movie is what I liked about the movie The American President--they both show the sausage-making process of legislation and the executive position. How deals get made, how power is utilized, how an executive has to balance political concerns with what's right and must be done. The movie devotes a lot of time to the civil rights movement. They showed the Freedom Riders trying to get a bus out of some city in the South (Birmingham?)--Greyhound doesn't want to do it, and RFK literally has to order the Greyhound manager to drive them out. Grudgingly, Greyhound drives them to Montgomery where a bunch of whites, mostly male but some well-dressed females, are waiting, and just...savage them.

It's really hard to watch stuff like this. I love my background--I love that my grandfather was from Buhminhayem and my great-grandfather from Jackson, Miss'ssippi, and I have Hix relatives all over 'Tlanta, and Bartons in Magnolia, La., and Bartlett relatives in Nawlins. I love the food, the music, the accents, the land. I am proud to call myself a Southerner. But this...savagery...is part and parcel of that heritage. It's just awful to watch. I hate it that those people share anything with me. I know my grandfather was pretty evolved for his time--my mother tells a story about how when he was in the Army during WWII, he socialized with black Southerners because they were fellow countrymen to him. He got shit for it, but he'd rather hang out with another Southerner of whatever color than a Yankee. He was a hardcore Southerner but to him it was about regional pride and love of the homeland, not race. Growing up with that story, maybe that's why I can feel that love of the South doesn't have to equate to racism, or even love of the Confederacy. Grandpa John of course was also an actor, which can induce evolution, if that makes sense. Because Grandpa John didn't grow up in a particularly evolved atmosphere--he lived on a plantation, he had a Mammy, and as ashamed as I am to say it, my great-grandfather was in the Klan. I know that Grandpa John was born very late in my great-grandfather's life--my mother never really knew her grandfather because of that. Also I think there was some family rift--certainly Grandpa John didn't get any of that family money. *shrug*

I don't know. I don't know how much this stuff touches me. I don't believe in the concept of the sins of the father are visited upon the child, and a shared racial stain and stuff like that. But watching this, and watching the thing on Emmett Till on the History Channel a couple of weeks ago--I was just horrified, and very, very upset. I physically want to push those people away from me--because in some spiritual way, we are kin. We are white Southerners. I felt shame watching this stuff. I want to say, I am a Southerner, and I am nothing like you. That's not my heritage. That's not what I mean when I talk about the South. How can you do that? How can you treat other human beings that way? Especially Emmett Till--he was a baby, he was a child, 14 years old. That's a human being--he's your brother, we are all brothers and sisters under God.


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February 2017



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