I haven’t quite gotten over the stresses and strains (both good and bad) of the past three weeks, and as a result I find I don’t have anything especially original to say this morning! Instead of blathering randomly, I’ll leave the blogging to the following well-chosen assortment of my esteemed friends and colleagues. Go get ’em, tigers:
– The adorable Ms. Maccers shares a few “things I have learnt while aging.” Some pertinent excerpts:
You will always lose the ones you love the most
Those you hate
Hang around ad infinitem
Taunting you for your failure to kick their arses years ago
Eat red fruit
Small dogs are gay
And so is my ex
Living alone will become a comfort and then a shield
ALWAYS sell the jewelry…
Ooh, yikes! (But she does have a point or two, or three.)
I would say, overall, that this is the best selection of cartoons yet, and certainly the most varied….
– Listen up, OGIC: Mr. Wax Banks has some smart things to say about one of your favorite flicks:
The Insider is an adult movie: though it carries a moral message, it’s not simply two and a half hours of moralizing (though I’ve got to point out that no one lights a single cigarette in this long movie about Big Tobacco–an odd atmospheric choice by Mann). We should be grateful for grownup artists who take on subjects worthy of their talent….
O.K., I give up, I’ll watch the damn thing the next time I come to Chicago. Really.
– While we’re at it, Mr. Superfluities is no less smart about a major TT-OGIC fave:
Though many swear by the delightful Waiting for Guffman and enjoy All About Eve‘s wallow in thespian bitchiness, I’ve found no movie to be quite as accurate and inspiring about theater work than Mike Leigh’s 1999 Topsy-Turvy, concerning the creation and premiere of Gilbert and Sullivan’s masterpiece The Mikado. In many ways an unusual film for Leigh, who’s best known for his semi-improvised films and plays about contemporary British culture, Topsy-Turvy is nonetheless very much in the Leigh tradition of showing everyday work and frustration, even though there often doesn’t seem to be much point beyond the ability to endure. Here, though, that everyday work and frustration is located in the artistic community of the theater. In fact, those parts of Topsy-Turvy that many people find boring–mostly the scenes of endless (sometimes fruitless) rehearsal, worry over potentially disastrous financial arrangements and constant professional bickering–seem to me the most fascinating and true-to-life….
– Dizzy Gillespie’s estate is being auctioned off next month. Here’s the online catalogue. Browse and marvel.
– Mr. Manhattan Transfer rhapsodizes on the joys of summer in New York:
Opera in the park, with bits of cheese and chilled Sancerre in plastic cups. Lingering lunches in shaded sidewalk bistros. Rooftop parties overserving beer out of garbage cans filled with ice and sand. Sunrise whiskeys with bartenders in the Rockaways. Girls in short skirts with beads of sweat on the small of their backs. Falling asleep on the lawn alongside the Hudson River. Aperitifs at A60. Midday movies to escape the humidity. Seared tuna salad and buffalo mozzarella and three pinot grigio lunches. The song of the summer. Pretending the subway doesn’t exist….
– Sarah (all others are imitations), who in my humble opinion is one of the nicest things about summer in New York, has some thoughtful and thought-provoking things to say about reviewers who court conflicts of interest:
How transparent should reviewers be? What constitutes a conflict of interest? These are things I think about constantly…
In a perfect world, a reviewer could completely divorce his or her feelings about a book from everything else. Put it in a vacuum. Isolate it from the larger context of a genre, a literary oeuvre, whatever. And make sure that he or she is only judged by the words appearing on the page.
But of course, that’s not the case. In the mystery world, I think reviewers can be divided into two categories: those that mingle, and those that do not. It’s a no-brainer as to which one I belong to; I don’t believe I would have been able to write any review whatsoever had I not already been an active fan, participating on various internet message boards. And even when there are times when I wish I could drop back, I can’t–nor do I particularly want to. Also, here on the blog, I can be as subjective as I like–the URL does bear my name, after all.
Yet it makes things difficult, especially in regards to my column. Luckily I only have five books a month to review, and so in theory, I can endeavor to pick books by people I’ve never met, never exchanged an email, never socialized with in any way, shape or form. But with every book I view for potential inclusion, I have to ask if there could be any sort of bias involved…
Read the whole thing.
She has confessed to being “reserved” and a “control freak,” and is a little wary of interviews. Or perhaps she is bored by them–by familiar questions of how she began singing and what her favourite operatic roles are. “Some interviewers are like zombies,” she says. “You want to slap them.” Having just stepped off a plane, I feel zombie-like and hurriedly suggest the photographer goes first–planting the uncomplaining Von Otter next to trees, on soaking benches, and dangerously near the edge of the lake–while I rethink my questions….
God, but I love that woman. (If you don’t yet know what all the fuss is about, buy this CD and be enlightened.)
I went to see the show because I know a cast member and I know a crew member–and while I know that almost every waiter in the City is also an actor, it was clear that the audience wasn’t made up of “friends of…”. Rather, the average age of the audience was 60. Granted, it was a summer Saturday matinee, but still–60? Not great if a theater company wants to survive. The audience needs a median age of 40-ish–difficult to do in these times. Part of that is the rise in ticket prices. I understand that theaters have to pay Equity salaries and IATSE salaries and rent and rental for costumes/props and royalties and other salaries and all that. But it does keep audiences–young, necessary audiences–away….
– Finally, Howard Kissel, my opposite number at the New York Daily News, tossed off a nifty little feature about what it’s like to see The Producers, The Lion King, The Phantom of the Opera, and Chicago from the cheap seats. I wish I’d written it….
– …just as I wish I’d written this utterly characteristic Galley Cat lead:
I’m not sure I could imagine any combination I’d dislike more than Jonathan Safran Foer and opera….
In the immortal word of James Joyce, mkgnao!