Dear Readers,

I now consider this blog to be my Juvenelia. Have fun perusing the archives, and find me at my new haunt, here.

Saturday, March 31, 2007

Silent Movie.

Late last night, seduced into silliness by the winsome summer breezes that came flying up our hill, my bf and I settled down with the Mel Brooks pseudo-classic "Silent Movie."
It was Brooks' lame puns and over-the-top slapsick at its absolute farthest reaches, but there was something liberating about the silent format. Plus, watching Mel Brooks, Marty Feldman, and Dom DeLuise [Funn, Eggs and Bell] all together in scene after scene was enough to plaster a grin across my face. I couldn't look at the three of them with out smiling--much less watch them contort their faces into idiotic expressions and walk and skip in sync. Watching the three of them in knight costumes destroy Liza Minelli's lunch table and Anne Bancroft's night out made us realize how much of a debt Borat's Sacha Baron Cohen owes to that other jew, Mel Brooks.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

American Idolatry

I got home from a tasty Mexican dinner in midtown with my boo, leaving him to fun at the Bowery Ballroom while I work the "late shift" at a website-in-development I'm working at. In order to troll for a bit of color for said website, I searched for the American Idol results. But they weren't there yet? I then realized that there were only five minutes left to the broadcast and I could see them real time. Simon called it; "curly" got the boot. I think Chris Sligh was totally shocked. Oh, well, he went to sexist-racist Bob Jones U, so I'm not crying a river, 'zactly.

So readers dear, I've been shamefully negelctful of ye of late. This week was supposed to be my "blog'n'jog" week because a lot of my tutees are out of town, but I've ended up with so much freelance work that it's been work'n'stress week instead. Sadness.

However, my favorite and only brother is back from Scotland to look at law schools (he got into, like, all of them) and celebrate Freedom! on Passover, so that's been a ray of sunshine, as has been the weather. Spring really has a huge psychological effect on a persion, doesn't it? I find that I don't need as much sleep or food just because of the change in light, and I feel embarassingly optimistic. We really are just creatures crawling about, affected by the earth's changes, methinks at times.

As for literaryish stuff, we finished watching the hysterical, manic Tom Jones, and adored it, and I've been reading a couple of interesting galleys for my various reviewing/interviewing gigs but nothing myself. I may read the Road now that Oprah's picked it.

I'm also thinking of bringing Daniel Deronda on my family ski trip next week but it's daunting. I used to love George Eliot more than any other author, but recently I've found her underlying seriousness sort of a drain. Still, I ought to give it a chance, particularly since it's totally pro-Jew, which is awesome.

Oh and Also, one of my three or four fave mags and the only Conde Nast mag I read (except for occasional dips into the talk of the town) Jane, got a "serious" makeover. I liked in in theory, but there were so many little bubbles saying "buy this product to be happy" that I was sort of disheartened. Still, if they're really de-bimbofying the magazine, I'm all for it, because I'm rather enamored of its snarky "yo go girl" tone and over-use of puns.

Harry Potter Cover Art Revealed.

Wow. I'm speechless. It looks so apocalytic. Also, what is in the background? Is it the Hogwarts Express or some locale we have yet to encounter?

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

JONESing for some Joneses....

On Friday night, while resting in preparation for my full day of teaching (yep that's right, I work on the [Jewish] Lord's day) my bf and I were flipping back and forth between two Joneses and two Fieldings. The first Jones was Bridget Jones: the Edge of Reason, a somewhat piss-poor adaptation of a riotously witty book by Helen Fielding, and the second is the classic adaptation of Henry Fielding's Tom Jones, one of the first bildungsomans ever published in the English lingo.

Now fellow-ette's not so hip to the world of the 18th century novel. All she's read are Evelina, Crusoe, and a bunch of potboilers by Eliza Haywood, Aphra Behn, and Anne Radcliffe thanks to her awesome "Women and the Novel" class--taught by a wonderful female prof who naturally did not get tenure at Harvard. But I know enough about the turgid old 18th century to know that sex and ribaldry were far from off-topic in the pre-victorian era, and that as a result of this no-taboo age, the Tom Jones movie, if not particularly suck-you-in fascinating, is kind of hilarious. Like, 18th century breeches and low-cut blouse rolling in the hay/falling into ponds hilarious.

And the very necessary comparison between Bridge and Tom was all the more brilliantly illuminated by watching snatches of both movies back to back. Here's the thing; people dismiss Bridget Jones as chick-lit, and in some ways it did usher in that era. But the novels, light-hearted as they are, are so much more than the ro-co-standard movies, despite the good acting, can illustrate. First of all, there's the importance of the literary allusions. There's Tom Jones, there's Austen everywhere, and knowing your British literature will make you appreciate Bridget's adventures all the more.

Second of all, getting rid of Bridget's voice-over narration in the second film takes away the most vital part of the books: namely Bridget's "diary," which is witty, knowing, and a lot stronger than multiple screen shots of the wobbling, tottering, idiot Renee Zellweger would have us believe.

So in conclusion:
  1. Helen Fielding is a sly genius whose books are much cleverer than the screen can convey.
  2. Tom Jones (not the singer, the character) is a rakish but well-meaning sex panther.
  3. Don't knock [chick l]it till you've tried [chick l]it
  4. Because it may be something more.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

SNL getting dangerously close to dead to me

This episode (hosted by Julia Louis-Dreyfuss) is so unbelievably lame that I don't even know how to begin critiquing it.
So I'll just say...Happy St. Patrick's day... celebrating the man who gave the Irish their perverse sexual guilt! Huzzah.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

The Namesake

It's hard for me to write seriously about Mira Nair's version of The Namesake with Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle on TV in the background but I'm going to try (oh, Kal Penn!). "Did Doogie Howser just steal my fucking car?"

Let's see. To begin with the movie was a truly lovely adaptation of one of my favorite books ever. The performances were nuanced and the filming was rich... I had a few quibbles. I thought Jacinda barett's Maxine was weak--I always pictured Max as warm and sophisticated on the surface, cold WASP on the inside (and lookswise, sort of like a young Meryl Streep) not a bimbo. In other words, Gogol should like her for more than her looks and her giggles.

There were other little aspects of the adaptation that irked me, but judging how much of the film I watched with a lump on my throat, it did just fine.

What struck me more than anything else was the massive crowd at the Angelika on opening weekend; people lined up and packed into the theater. Lahiri's story seems to have a particular power over people. The book is one of the most universally-loved contemporary novels I've ever come across. Why is it so popular AND so critically-acclaimed? Because it's so poignant without being show-offy. There are no fancy words, no stream-of-consciousness asides, no wryly ironic bizarre plot twists, nothing but a story, and a simple, realistic one at that. A family. Relationships. The immigrant experience. It's all been done before, but Lahiri did it without inserting herself, the authoress, into the story. She let the story speak through her. And it touched people incredibly deeply. Particularly this person, who read it while recuping from pneumonia and still stayed up til 4 am bawling because it was that good.

So go see the movie! And then when you're done sobbing, rent Harold and Kumar. Thank you, come again!

Friday, March 09, 2007

Holla-ing at you

Fellow-ette's been mad busy yo. I have three jobs now and three other lesser freelancing gigs (which means SIX bosses when it comes down to it--rather intense) and have been gallivanting about a bit--cold Boston, sunny San Fran. Also, one of my new thingies is writing for a soon-to-be-annoucned other thingy publication, which means perusing tons of blogs and articles and writing snappy thingies about them. Which kind of drains some of my energy that might otherwise be directed into my own vanity bloggin'.

Also, I've discovered Bloglines, the best invention ever. And let's be honest; I'd rather spend my time reading Feministing, Ms. Snark, Pandagon and Kos than writing my own cogent analysis. This truth may or may not amount to some sort of signifier of my personal shortcomings, but whatever. These people are serious fucking bloggers yo. And they've essentially replaced the MSM (that's mainstream media, see how much I've learned) for me, because the New York Times' politcial coverage sort of majorly SUCKS these days.

But also, good shit is slowly happening in my actual book-reviewing: I had my first book review published in a national glossy (yay! it was a very indie glossy but still cool) and I have an upcoming gig reviewing fiction for like, one of the the major publications that reviews fiction before it is actually released. THINK OF THE POWER I SHALL HAVE. But no worries readers dear, I shall use it wisely, for someday my crappy debut novel will be in the hands of someone just like me. It will kind of be like me reviewing me, which probably doesn't happen enough at the moment. Hoo-hah.

Also, I've bought myself not one, but TWO pairs of new, trendier, Crocs. Which may be the best news of all. Anyone whose tootsies have suffered through a hot NYC summer knows what I'm talkin' bout. Never tell me comfort isn't cool.

Dreamy from My Father

I heart this man, the author of my current reading project.

A thoughtful president is hard to imagine... but a downright introspective one? Wouldn't that be amazing?

Sure, the book is a little heavy on unnecessary analysis of certain moments, and the authors's personality remains a bit oblique and guarded, but the issues that I've thought about while reading this book--from the struggles of poor communities to parallels between cultures that span continents and simple questions of family dynamic--are mind-bogglingly complex and fascinating.

I want a president who understands the class and race crisis in our country better than I do, and I want a president who undestands the international world more than I do, and I want a president who is probing and intellectual but also fiesty.

Edwards/Obama or Obama/Edwards '08 would be the most revolutionary thing that ever happened to this country. Is it possible?

I'd like to think I have the audacity of hope ;)
Go Barack Go!

It's also quite well-written, incidentally. And gripping. So there, FOX news!