Thursday, May 31, 2007

twitting the first lines of books

just stumbled upon this website via vulture...its called twice each day, the editor(s) put up the first line from a novel without telling you the title or the author. next to it they put up the amazon link to the book.

its not the most exciting or visually pleasing site, but its a good way to waste a bit of time online.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

i'm going back to new york city

i will be there at the break of dawn.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Monday, May 28, 2007

an anecdote regarding my trip to krakow

in order to prolong our weekend traveling time, we decided to take a sleeper car to krakow. i had only been in a sleeper car once before: the summer i turned ten, my parents chose to add some adventure to our family vacation in europe by making the trip from prague to paris via train through germany. i have faint recollections of this journey. mainly of sleep and fast-passing scenery. thus, i must admit, i had somewhat romanticized ideas regarding this train ride to krakow.

our train was set to leave prague at 8:55 and arrive at the crack of dawn. it was an ideal traveling situation--a perfect mix between adventure and mindful time management. we would arrive in krakow, drop off our bags, and explore the city from morning to night.

unfortunately, the sleeper car turned out to be about the size of a new york bathroom, unimaginably small, and sufficiently impossible to sleep in. the only thing funnier than the six of us attempting to pile into this cell and climb up onto our so-called beds was the sorry fact that we had willingly paid some 200 extra korunas to be blessed with this experience.

the night was as horrific as you can imagine. the heat was unbearable, the window wouldn't stay open, and we had to keep our door closed to get our 200 korunas worth of closed cabin security. i suffered the night away on a middle bunk, which was situated somewhere in the sahara i'm convinced, wherein i was prevented from sleep not only by my claustrophobic surroundings or the rock-hard bed, but by suffocation. i guess it didn't help that we chose to drink cheap, soapy wine before bed in order to tranquilize our nerves. so, when i wasn't trying to rub my limbs against cold sections of the wall or window, i was helplessly scouring the room for a sip of water--as were the other five inmates in the room.

somehow, after passport check at two or three am, i managed to accomplish something along the lines of sleep, only to be almost immediately woken up by the overseer of the sleeping cabin announcing our arrival in krakow. needless to say, after approximately an hour of searching the streets for our hostel, we spent half of the day sleeping again, this time soundlessly and well worth the price.

"poland's second city is first choice for the young"

that is the title for an article about krakow appearing in this sunday's new york times travel section.i went to krakow with 5 companions during the last weekend of february/first weekend of march. and krakow, which is poland's second city after warsaw, is definitely a choice for the young. out of all the cities i visited in the past 4 months, krakow had the most hip and up-and-coming nightlife, which was unexpected for a low-hype city such as krakow.

according to the times, krakow is "eastern europe's newest bohemian capital." the article talks about the growing young expat community who have chosen krakow over prague and budapest as the latest cultural frontier. the article specifically refers to kazimierz--krakow's old jewish quarter, which houses the epicenter of the city's hipness. a number of gritty pubs and cool bars are packed into the streets of this small quarter, which is coincidentally where our hostel was located. one of them, which the times articles also refers to, is called alchemia. its a dark, smoky bar that plays good music and is located right on to old jewish marketplace square (plac zydowski). diagonally across from alchemia is another brightly-lit french bar that has good kirs and posters all over the walls, but i can't recall its name. lastly there is singer, a smoky bar named after the old singer sewing machines that sit atop the bar's tables. this is one of the liveliest bars i found in europe and, out of all the places i have been to in the past 4 months, was the one place i could see myself going back to over and over again.

since it was freezing in krakow while we were there, i barely took any photographs. instead, here is the new york times' photo of rynek glowny, or krakow's old town square:
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Sunday, May 27, 2007

rip my heart out

watch david blaine rip his heart out on television. look how frightened carson daly is.

can i ask you a quick question? is he serious?

celebrity sighting

my mom wanted me to take my little brother to the star wars convention in l.a. this morning. instead, i hid under my covers and grumbled that i was busy. and i was busy. i was spending my morning (approximately an hour and a half to two hours) on a little website called

i'm sure you've all heard of it by now. i had heard of it too a few months ago, but couldn't use it since it does not work with safari and since i have recently acquired firefox, i was able to play on it all morning. and that's exactly what i did.

i came up with a bunch of hilarious results telling me things i never knew about the people i was closest to, like that my boyfriend strongly resembles patrick swayze and that my dear latin-american best friend can be easily confused with a number of asian pop stars. however true these fun facts may be, there is one result that i will not get over...

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

this is my mother. she is clearly a very beautiful, but very white woman.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

this is beyonce. i take it that you all know her.

according to myheritage, out of all the celebrities in the entire world, my mother most resembles the great beyonce knowles. huh. see, i think that instead of finding your celebrity face match, they find your celebrity soul match. because that way, all this means is that my mother is a strong, independent woman and that she can pay her own bills.

cannes cannes

today was the final day of the cannes film festival and the winners have been announced.

the palm d'or went to a small, low-budget romanian film called "4 months, 3 weeks, 2 days", by a young director named cristian mungiu. the film is about a young woman looking to get an abortion during the country's final days under communism. the stunned winning director was quoted saying, "this is good news for small filmmakers from small countries. you don't need a big budget and big stars to make a story that moves audiences."

here is a clip from the film:

the grand prix went to japanese director naomi kawase for "the mourning forest". the film is about a friendship between a mysterious resident at a retirement home and his caretaker.

in the parallel "un certain regard" competition, another romanian film entitled "california dreamin'" received the main prize.

other winners included julian schnabel as best director for "the diving bell and the butterfly" and gus van sant, who received the special 60th anniversary prize for his latest film "paranoid park".

the professor, the poet

this past semester, i was lucky enough to be a member of a small class led by an exceptional teacher. he is a very eccentric, very kind man-- a poet, in fact, who has lived all around the world in the past 60 years. he speaks of california and new york, has lived in london and has loved in berlin. he was the most intimate professor i have ever had and he loved his students dearly.

during the course of the semester, we were made to turn in 5-page papers about the poets we were studying every week on mondays--a tedious, but beneficial task. at the end of the semester, he asked us to turn in a clean copy of everything we've written for his class and he bound the papers together for each student, hoping to delight us at the sight of our published work. at the end of our unique publications, he kindly inserted a poem of his own. so here is a poem of his:

i stood
in you
Lit a cigarette
if only
to avoid
a watery death
I stood
in you
purple avenue
The waters
to rise

- michael march

Saturday, May 26, 2007

once i had a love and it was a gas

just found this recording of blondie performing "heart of glass" with british singer lily allen on the today show yesterday:

blondie & lily allen

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

shit from sean lennon's mouth

in the most recent issue of blackbook magazine, sean lennon blessed the world with a list of 10 witty pet peeves. here are some excerpts i enjoyed of things this man hates:

"pre-sliced mushrooms. if you are incapable of slicing mushrooms, then perhaps you should not be cooking."

"advertisements for unpronounceable drugs that do not indicate what the drug is for. they just show an old lady with a dog running through a field in slow motion and then say: 'ask your doctor about zvarzinexx--side effects include anal bleeding and sudden death.'"

"colloquial coffee lingo: tall, grande, and venti. i'll never understand the purpose of this completely illogical measuring system. was there something wrong with small, medium, and large?"

"emoticons, or as i like to call them, punk-tuation. i prefer when people convey their emotions through words and not clusters of misplaced semicolons. i'm not saying i've never done it. i'm just not proud of it.

find the whole article online at blackbook magazine

Friday, May 25, 2007

boomer and clementine

my friend natey just got two kitties. their names are boomer and clementine. they are sisters, just like my babies rex and lou, who i also got when they were about 7 weeks old.

how cute are they? wanna hear something even cuter? clementine has pink eye! cat pink eye!! so cute.

parallel lives

not too long ago, i put up a post about cinespia's summer cemetery screenings in hollywood. a similar outdoor film festival occurs in new york city every summer presented by hbo at bryant park on monday nights. it starts on june 18th (i think thats the first date) and they're showing a bunch of good films like annie hall and paper moon (!!).

check out the calendar.

a little bit of "bourg"

once upon a time, i heard about a little thing called restaurant week, which occurs twice a year, i believe, at participating restaurants in new york city. apparently during this special time of year, one can enjoy a prix-fix meal at some of the city's nicest restaurants for even nicer prices. what i've heard is about $20 for a 3-course lunch and $35 for dinner.

admittedly, i am somewhat embarrassed to be writing this post. after all, it openly revels my somewhat ridiculous obsession with food that has only grown even more ridiculous in recent months. while in prague, our travel writing class covered food writing and we read an excerpt from a book entitled "a cook's tour" by hip chef/novelist anthony bourdain, who is currently the chef at new york eatery les halles. enthralled with the excerpt, i borrowed the book from the teacher and basically devoured it. the book chronicled bourdain's trip around to world tasting exotic foods in different cultures. he participated in a pig slaughtering and subsequent feast in portugal, he sucked down like oysters on a fishing boat off the coast of france, and at one point ate the still-beating heart of a cobra while in cambodia (which he claimed kept beating all the way down...) so, after finishing that book, i became even more obsessed with cuisine.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
(chef anthony bourdain)

on a lonely stroll in paris one day, i stopped at shakespeare and company and found an equally lonely copy of another bourdain book, this one called "kitchen confidential" about his experiences in the culinary "underbelly" of new york. i'm just about finished with this one and my taste for food is only becoming more extreme. reading this guy's words about gourmet food is practically making me give up my lifetime seafood ban (there hasn't been much progress--i didn't take a bite of shrimp on two separate occasions, though.)

anyhow, week: a little birdy just told me that its happening in new york from july 10th through the 14th. i haven't been able to find out much information about it online, yet, but lists of participating restaurants should be available soon. reservations are suggested. i can't figure out where i want to go--who knows if i'll even be able to get in anywhere. i'm thinking gramercy tavern... shoutout to "bourgie": are you in?

Thursday, May 24, 2007


this is my favorite poem by hungarian poet, gy├Ârgy petri...


a bee dying on a split
plum's honey flesh.
stewing, rotting,
going gold and black,
in the abandoned garden.

if she were a wine, she would be a merlot-va

that's right. we call her merlova. i don't know why, but it sounded relatively czech.

and it's her birthday today. and she is somewhere far far away, in berlin. with all of my other friends.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

happy birthday, merlova!

Wednesday, May 23, 2007


i don't know how well you know los angeles, or particularly the la brea area, but one of the unique little aspects i love around here is the undefeated billboard. undefeated is a sneaker store on la brea and billboard which is perched above it is a collaborative project between the store, nike, and curator/artist/musician aaron rose. every few months, a different artist takes over the billboard and puts their mark on the l.a. scenery. last i remember, a terry richardson photo was up there for the holiday season. now, artist/filmmaker mike mills is doing a series for the project. this is the second in mills' series:

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

go to Undefeated and click on billboard project.

the diving bell and the butterfly

renowned artist, filmmaker, and man about town, julian schnabel just premiered his new film at cannes last night, entitled "the diving bell and the butterfly" based on the memoir of a French magazine editor, Jean-Dominique Bauby, who suffered a stroke that left his entire body paralyzed except for his left eye and his mind remained intact--a syndrome which is apparently referred to as "locked-in syndrome." bauby wrote a memoir of his experiences just 10 days before he died using a system of blinking his one eye.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

julian schnabel is best known for his paintings, as well as his recent work redesigning the new gramercy park hotel. his other films include "before night falls and "basquiat". apparently this film was supposed to be done in english, but schnabel insisted on learning french to direct it in bauby's own language to produce the same lyricism that exists in his memoir.

i don't know much about the film, especially since the preview lacks english subtitles, but from what i could comprehend with my minimal french, it looks like a romantic and moving story. plus, the visual style is beautiful and the reviews, including one by l.a. times veteran kenneth turan, are mainly favorable.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

wise words from miss july

miranda july, that is. not like the calendar girl miss july. that would be good, though, if that miss july had anything good to say. or if miranda july was a calendar girl.

“Are you angry? Punch a pillow. Was it satisfying? Not hardly. These days people are too angry for punching. What you might try is stabbing. Take an old pillow and lay it on the front lawn. Stab it with a big pointy knife. Again and again and again. Stab hard enough for the point of the knife to go into the ground. Stab until the pillow is gone and you are just stabbing the earth again and again, as if you want to kill it for continuing to spin, as if you are getting revenge for having to live on this planet day after day, alone.”

miranda july is the coolest person i know

or don't know. i mean, i know of her, i don't know her personally if that confused you. anyway, that makes her the coolest person i know of.

her new book of short stories, aptly entitled "no one belongs her more than you", is getting rave reviews. she even made an awesome website for it called and the book even comes in two different colors, yellow and pink:

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

i am having deja vu...did i already post about her new book? when i posted that short film she made with john c reilly in it? anyway, i have made a few phone calls and finally have someone holding the book for me. get your copies NOW!

apparently she had a reading that no one told me about at the Hammer Museum on the 16th!

if you're in new york, she has a reading TONIGHT (the 22nd) at 192 books on tenth ave and 21st street. you have to call (212.255.4022) for reservations. and this friday (the 25th) she will be at the New York Public Library on 5th ave and 42nd street with special guest david byrne!

i have to stop blogging, i have an appointment to pick up her new book in ten minutes!

megachurches and singles

i just stumbled upon the work of this new york-based photographer, nina berman. her images have this new american feel to them--they are all inexplicably political and depict a no longer isolationist america, but one now thrust into world events. its also not too patriotic of a persona, despite appearing nonetheless unashamed.

i couldn't look at all of the photos in her portfolio, like the images from "marine wedding" and "nuclear play"--well, i did look at them, enough to know that i can't handle those kind of images, but for those who think they could stomach it, i would check it out.

i particularly enjoyed the photos under "megachurches", "under taliban", and "singles".

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

bubonic plague kills monkey at denver zoo


Bubonic Plague Strikes Monkey

do you believe in magic?

so, my mom's friend's daughter is buddies with david blaine and he gave her a copy of an unfinished dvd version of "street magic", and she passed it along to her mother who (of course) passed it along to my mother. last night, the two of us along with my bratty little brother gathered on my mom's amazing tempurpedic bed to watch it.

i've never cared much for magic. especially since i recently watched the prestige (which is great! you should see it), i've come to understand the possibility of simple illusions that can fool even the best of us. however, david blaine is another story.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

his card tricks are one thing, but this levitation stuff really confuses me. have you seen it? it makes no sense! now, i did a little research and every website is quick to reveal blaine's tricks, however i remain amazed at what i saw. like a little kid, i kept asking my mom "how does he do it?!" and "mom! is it real?!" similarly amazed, she just stared straight into the tv and told me that he has supernatural powers.

almost seconds after she said this, the house lights went off and then the tv shut down. the sound from the dvd player remained on for another half a minute or so and then shut off as well. we had no power for the rest of the night. my mom went and pulled out a comically large emergency flashlight, as well as two smaller ones, and my brother ran around the house scared shitless, asking if monsters exist and refusing to admit his fear. he ended up sleeping in my mom's bed that night not because he was scared, of course not, but because he had to protect her.

about half an hour after the initial power outage, we regathered on the tempurpedic, with several candles and flashlights to accompany us, and i called the department of power to find out about the power outage. they listed two separate areas where the power had gone out: the 1st area, only blocks away from our house, was related to a power lines failure. the reason for the outage in our area, however, remained unknown. my mom had her own explanation: "he has supernatural powers," she said, "and he's not supposed to show them to anyone."

David Blaine

Monday, May 21, 2007

i miss new york

i miss new york, things about new york. like the one week the front door to my building looked like this:

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

i remember hearing that happen in the middle of the night. i miss hearing people out on the streets at lifeless hours of the night.

paranoid park

gus van sant's latest film, "paranoid park", premiered this evening in the main competition at cannes. the film is about a young skateboarder who kills a security guard and decides not to say anything about it. similar to "elephant", van sant's 2003 golden palm winner, the cast of "paranoid park" is made up of young locals.

van sant actually put out ads on myspace looking for: "teenagers including but not limited to: skaters, honor roll, cheerleaders, punks, drama kids, musicians, artists, student council, athletes, award winners, class skippers, photographers, band members, leaders, followers, shy kids, class clowns, foreign language speakers ..."

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

according to a review from ScreenGrab, the film is a "lyrical and evocative portrayal of adolescent youth". another reviewer, andrew o'hehir of salon calls the film "a visually lovely, semi-experimental riff on Dostoevsky's 'Crime and Punishment'".

the film is based on a novel by blake nelson and does not yet have an american release date.

other cannes premieres to look out for:

the new coen brothers film, "no country for old men", comes out in the US this november and stars tommy lee jones and javier bardem.

synopsis: "Llewelyn Moss finds a pickup truck surrounded by a bodyguard of dead men. A load of heroin and two million dollars in cash are still in the back. When Moss takes the money, he sets off a chain reaction of catastrophic violence that not even the law-in the person of aging, disillusioned Sheriff Bell - can contain. As Moss tries to evade his pursuers-in particular a mysterious mastermind who flips coins for human lives - the film simultaneously strips down the American crime drama and broadens its concerns to encompass themes as ancient as the Bible and as bloodily contemporary as this morning’s headlines."

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

and harmony korine's latest film, "mister lonely", is set to be released in the US sometime this year. the film features diego luna as a michael jackson impersonator living in paris who falls in love with a marilyn monroe look-alike at a retirement home that suggests he move to a commune of impersonators in the scottish highlands (!).

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Festival de Cannes

Saturday, May 19, 2007

the wolf is dead

this drawing was given to me by mr. james thacher on the event of my departure from four months spent on the european continent.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

the wolf is dead

un petit photo

c'est mon petit ami dans nous chambre a l'hotel.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

when i get back my other roll, i will then expand on the creepiest hotel room i have ever stayed in, pictured here in this photo. peeling western-style blue wallpaper, john malkovich-style low ceilings, and no locks on the door. and it was called the "absolute hotel".

three things enchanted him

this is a short poem by the most famous russian female poet, anna akhmatova. kept alive purposefully by stalin, akhmatova survived the revolution and stalin's purges. her first husband, poet nikolai gumilev, was killed by the government and she was said to have had affairs with the poet osip mandelstam (also killed), and with the painter modigliani in paris (who did an infamous portrait of her.)

three things enchanted him:
white peacocks, evensong,
and faded maps of America.
he couldn't stand bawling brats,
or raspberry jam with his tea,
or womanish hysteria.
...and he was tied to me.


Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Poems of Akhmatova translated by S. Kunitz and M. Hayward

Friday, May 18, 2007

guns cant kill what soldiers cant see

in vienna this past march, i bought a small magazine called "the purple journal" that's published in paris. it consists mainly of writing--travel writing, almost, and has a few photo spreads. one of the photographers featured in the issue i bought is named henry roy. he was born in haiti and now lives/works in paris. he speaks of photography as if it were magic, calling the craft a "strange alchemy".

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Purple Gallery

Thursday, May 17, 2007

my favorite thing about hollywood...

its very easy for me to name my favorite things about la, mainly because there are so few of them. yeah, there are the items that pop up on everyone's lists like in'n'out or amoeba records, but there are a few specialties in l.a. that i adore. unfortunately, i cannot give all of my secrets away here, however i will disclose my favorite summertime event in l.a. and that is the saturday night cemetery screenings organized by Cinespia.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

held at the infamous hollywood forever cemetery (where miss marilyn monroe is one of the buried), the evening is an homage to the old drive-ins of the 50s, except instead of parked cars everyone parks their asses on a big, crowded lawn and picnics while an old film is projected up onto a wall. they even have a liquor license, so bottles of wine are present all around. its basically one big party--kinda like a block party, but with movies and in a cemetery, especially since they have djs spinning before and after the screening.

anyway, this weekend inaugurates the summer season and the first film is robert altman's "the player". if you're in or around hollywood, you should check it out. i've seen tons of movies there, from "chinatown" to "the tale of the sierra madre" (i also had one weird date-that-i-didnt-know-was-a-date experience there,) and, regardless, its always been a good time. especially if you bring take-out italian food and steal a bottle of wine from your parents (i mean, i was in high school...)

my blueberry nights

"my blueberry nights", the newest film by hong kong director wong kar-wai, premiered last night as the opening film of the 60th cannes film festival. (wong kar-wai was actually the president of the jury last year.) the film is the director's first in english and stars singer norah jones, along with a supporting cast that includes jude law, david strathairn, tim roth (!--who was also on the jury last year), natalie portman, and rachel weisz.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

when i expressed interest in the film a few days ago, an uppity filmmaker friend of the family's (whose first feature was in a side competition in cannes last year, that's why i was there) told me that wong kar-wai's films were a "real undergraduate choice." hah. i told him that i thought one was supposed to get less pretentious once they graduated from nyu--oops! he never did.

anyway, i'm still eager to see the film. i read a smattering of uneven reviews and then i found this one, written by veteran film critic, a.o. scott, for the international herald tribune. according to scott, the film takes place in a "postcard america of diners and red neon signs, a land of heartbreak and second chances where folks play poker and drink whiskey'--which sounds like typical, sad romantic wong kar-wai to me. scott has some nice things to say about the film and he summarizes his feelings by saying, "my initial impression is of a sweet, insubstantial movie that might have been more exciting--more meaningful--to make than it is to see."

as of yet, the film does not have an american release date. i'm speculating that the director might plan on re-working the film a little bit before pushing towards further releases, since he himself noted that post-production was rushed and completed barely in time for the official cannes premiere.

if you haven't seen anything of wong kar-wai's, i would recommend my favorite movie of his, chungking express, and also, in the mood for love.

the big picture

when i brazenly asked a certain someone whether or not they knew that andreas gursky was the highest paid photographer alive (a fact i had just stumbled upon online and was eager to pull out of my pocket), they replied with exactly what i didn't want to hear: yes, they did already know that.

so, i had to pull out the big guns. did they know that 11 of gursky's most recent massive pieces were showing at the matthew marks gallery in new york until june 30th? HUH?? no, they replied (meekly), they did not know that.

that's right.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

"May Day V" (2006)

Matthew Marks Gallery

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

so i was talking to my friend in berlin today and she's like, "oh ja, i have some photos up in zis gallery in prenzlauer berg, its nothing really...but ja, it will be up for ten days or somezing..."

anyway, this berliner took the following photo on her new lomo cam and its hanging up in some hip neighborhood gallery in germany, so beat that.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

photo by miss chloe wepper

Art Show

my meduza

this is a photograph i took in prague at my favorite cafe, kavarna meduza.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

not only is this picture dear to me as keepsake of my old cafe, but it is the lovely lady who sits at the center of this photograph--another favorite of mine, that makes it special.

an explosive bundle of latin flavor and wit, she is one of the feistiest women i know. it is only appropriate, then, that in this photo she sits in meduza--quite the meduza herself, on the verge of eating someone alive.

the love that loves to love

in 1979, ten years after van morrison released his seminal (!) album, Astral Weeks, lester bangs wrote a very personal and illuminating review of it. understandably, bangs is completely taken with the album and refers to it as the album with the most significance as of yet in his life. i'm not really up for epic decisions right now, so i can't say the same other than its been one of my favorite albums since i discovered it the summer before senior year in high school. in the piece, instead of trying to explain the songs, bangs simply attempts to recognize the universal empathy ridden in the album that was written by the artist when he was just 22 or 23. anyway, he concludes with a juxtaposition of poets that i really enjoyed:

If I ventured in the slipstream
Between the viaducts of your dreams
Where the mobile steel rims crack
And the ditch and the backroads stop
Could you find me
Would you kiss my eyes
And lay me down
In silence easy
To be born again

- Van Morrison

My heart of silk
is filled with lights,
with lost bells,
with lilies and bees.
I will go very far,
father than those hills,
farther than the seas,
close to the stars,
to beg Christ the Lord
to give back the soul I had
of old, when I was a child,
ripened with legends,
with a feathered cap
and a wooden sword.

- Federico Garcia Lorca

'Astral Weeks' by Lester Bangs.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

pandas are loved by people all over the world

so, a family friend of mine is producing an audio recording of an ESL lesson for chinese kids. since i have a partial degree in voice training (ahem the bull), i was approached as a possible candidate. now, before entering the recording studio, i've been asking to submit a recording sample. unfortunately my demo tape (!) was, um, unavailable, and so i collaboratively came up with the idea to record a sample on garageband. to do this, the producer would send me samples from the "script" to work with.

looking over the script, i couldn't help but notice how fucking weird this tape is going to be. in the past when practicing language tapes (and i've tried french, italian, and czech), its usually a combination of somewhat useful phrases like "i'll have a coffee, please" or "where is the train station?". these poor chinese kids are going to get none of that. check out the sentences i've been asked to record (this is all of them, i haven't weeded out the stranger ones or anything):

pandas are loved by people all over the world.
she has taken to teaching like a duck to water.
we saw the tiger pouncing on the goat.
can you distinguish a goat from a sheep?
when the tree falls, the monkeys scatter.

and then there is the brief dialogue for which i've also been asked to simulate the male voice. practicing has been tons of fun already. i've been trying to analyze this role for some motivation on the female's part, but i keep picking up on the sexual overtones of these words...

W: What are we having for lunch?
M: What do you like?
W: I like cucumbers!
M: I like them, too.
W: Good, we are good friends.

is it just me, or are these chinese kids going to be smothered with some lunchtime phallic imagery?

are you the favorite person of anybody?

i just caught this short film on new york magazine's vulture. written by miranda july, who just published a book of short stories, the film features an adorable john c. reilly surveying passersby, asking the question, "are you the favorite person of anybody?" the survey-ees include july, herself, along with mike white and the film's cinematographer, chuy chavez.

then, of course, it got me thinking: am i the favorite person of anybody? gee, i don't know.

how sure am i of that? very certain, confident, i think so, not so sure, could be? hmmph. i think so? uh, what was the one underneath that?

paris je t'aime

having just returned from a week in paris, i'm all about testing my knowledge of the city's map. luckily, a certain film that roams through the city's different quarters is just about to open in los angeles this coming friday and is already playing in new york(!). i have been waiting to see paris je t'aime (paris, i love you) since i heard of its inception about a year and a half ago. last year while at the cannes film festival, i was hoping to get a ticket to one of screenings since the film was part of the 'un certain regard' selection (running parallel to the official competition). unfortunately, my attempts were unsuccessful.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

headed by french director olivier assayes, the film is a compilation of 18 shorts each set in a different part of the city and individually directed by a prestigious international slew of filmmakers. the cast is impressive as well, including some of my favorite actors such as willem dafoe, gena rowlands, ben gazzara, juliette binoche, and steve buscemi.

»Paris Je T'aime
see it starting this friday at laemmle's sunset 5 theater.

Monday, May 14, 2007

seconal, suicide, and sex

a few weeks ago, i stumbled upon a blog post beckoning "literary types" to read a certain underdog nominee in the essay category of the National Magazine Awards. i downloaded the piece and, confused by its categorization as an essay (which i now realize is a broad and ambiguous term), left it to linger on my desktop until a serious moment of boredom arrived. that moment arrived half an hour ago when, again in the throes of jet lag, i chained myself to my laptop when i awoke at 2:55 am. nevertheless, i ventured to read this looming essay, which turned out to be more of a short story and a brilliant one in fact.

originally appearing in the Georgia Review, the story entitled "Russell and Mary" written by Michael Donohue, chronicles the story of a young Brooklynite tenant whose notoriously mean landlady dies, leaving him to stumble through the belongings left in her apartment after the city officials have swept the place clean of goods. he ends up finding a box belonging to her late husband and becomes enthralled with the man whose saved mementos paint him as a barbituate-addicted, abnormal sex-obsessed cartoonist with a thing for Christianity.

i don't think i have to say much more than that. it's brief, humorous, and you can view it here: 'Russell and Mary'.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

the air is on fire

while in paris last week, i was lucky to happen upon an exhibition of david lynch's work at the fondation cartier pour l'art contemporain near the raspail metro stop.

the exhibit, designed by lynch himself, combines a large array of his work, including photographs, paintings, and a collection of drawings taken out of his personal journals. the drawings are on matchbooks, napkins, and scraps of paper saved from years of travel and film sets. his paintings usually encompass mixed media and have a common character, like 'bob', present throughout. there was also a presentation of a series called "Distorted Nudes", which consisted of modified digital images of old erotic photographs from the late 19th century. a miniature theater was set up in the space that played some of his short films off of the 'Dumbland' DVD. also, there was this really creepy sound environment design playing in all of the rooms, which apparently you can now buy the soundtrack for.

a photograph from a nudes series:

"suddenly my house became a tree of sores":

anyway, if you're in paris you should check it out. or look at the website: Fondation Cartier

i came in from the east

its 5:44 a.m. in los angeles and i have been awake for two and a half hours. i came in from paris last night after a rough 13 hour flight on airfrance spent drinking champagne and those mini bottles of wine.

its may 13th now. exactly 4 months ago to this day, i arrived in prague for a brief excursion abroad. i spent those days lazily sitting in cafes, riding trains to central european cities, and thinking about home.

on the fifth day of may, i rode into paris from the east with the sun in my eyes. i had exactly one week left of my travels. i roamed the familiar streets without a guidebook for once and spent those walks reacquainting myself with life in a culturally progressive metropolis. while browsing gallery-filled streets and eating cuisine unheard of in the czech republic, i began to bridge the gap that would lead me back to new york.

this blog is kind of a midnight venture, begun in the throes of jet lag in the first hours upon my return and intended to be a space for creative information--a kind of culture shock therapy, if you will.

so, that's what "the fifth day of may" is, other than (of course) a blatant reference to one of my favorite songs.