Tuesday, July 31, 2007

how do you say heartbreak in italian

its strange to be writing this post with the death of famed director, ingmar bergman still looming in the recent past. however, i have just found out (a tad late, of course) that italian director, michelangelo antonioni has just passed away. its unbelievable to think that two of the most profound directors in modern european cinema are now gone, and they passed away within hours of eachother.

here's a few news stories on antonioni's death:
"the langurous, achingly hip films on michelangelo antonioni"
" NPR: filmmaker antonioni dies at age 94"

my favorite film of his is 1960's l'avventura.

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geoffrey nowel-smith, in his essay for the film's criterion collection dvd release, gives a perfect plot summary:

"A group of rich Italians is on a cruise off the coast of Sicily when one of their number—a moody, unhappy girl—disappears. Murder, kidnap, accident, suicide? Her boyfriend and her close woman friend search for her, but the search turns into a new love story, and the mystery is never resolved."

The film stars the beautiful Monica Vitti, whom critics have dubbed "the liquid-eyed" muse in Antonioni's work.

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You can read a great article on senses of cinema by writer Hamish Ford (i love the name hamish, by the way, like hamish bowles) about Antonioni's "L'avventura"

I bet the entire Cinema Studies department at NYU is in tears right now.

Addio Antonioni!

Monday, July 30, 2007

"ingmar bergman, famed director, dies at 89"

ingmar bergman, famed director, dies at 89.

"ingmar bergman, 'the poet with the camera', who is considered one of the greatest directors in motion picture history, died today on the small island of faro where he lived on the baltic coast of sweden..."

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Wednesday, July 25, 2007

lemons and babies

i am obsessed with this. i just saw it on the amateur gourmet.

Monday, July 23, 2007

the darjeeling limited

my name is the darjeeling limited and i am going to be so awesome when i come out this fall.

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a romanian poem

Since I posted earlier about MoMA-featured Romanian artist, Dan Perjovschi, I thought I would post a poem by another Romanian, poet Nichita Stãnescu. It's called "A Poem":

Tell me, if I caught you one day
and kissed the sole of your foot,
wouldn't you limp a little then,
afraid to crush my kiss?...

mailer hates godard

"i will say, and this is for the record, jean-luc godard may well be the third most awful man i've met in my life." - norman mailer

vulture: today in feuds between old people

more MoMA

While at MoMA, I also got to see two photography exhibits that I adored: the new JoAnn Verburg exhibit, "Present Tense", and the Barry Frydlender exhibit, "Place and Time". These were the two exhibits that left me the most satisfied with my trip above 14th street, especially since I was bummed to find out that the regular photo gallery was closed until August 8th for a new installation.

I was really inspired by the Verburg exhibit, which was split into two separate rooms: landscapes and portraits. Many of the landscapes pictured were taken in Italy, where her and her husband spend a lot of their time. There she worked on a series of olive trees, which includes the photo below called, "Campello Olive Trees for Giulio."

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What I loved about the olive trees series was that as a viewer, I felt like I was looking out from among the trees. My perspective had shifted environments and I was among the tree branches--not in some lame spiritual sense, but physically. It was really calming and exhilirating at the same time. Those photos reminded me of this Bernardo Bertolucci film called "Stealing Beauty" starring Liv Tyler. Although it's not my favorite film by the Italian director, it is set in a beautiful Tuscan villa and follows the daughter of a poet whose early work has secret messages revolving around this area in Tuscany. I know, it's a little sentimental and girly, but it has this sense of youthful joie de vivre and beauty that reminds me of the same feeling I get looking at Verburg's olive trees.

"Living--being alive--is a present-tense enterprise." -- JoAnn Verburg, in last week's NY Times article "Moments in Time, Yet Somehow in Motion" by Philip Gefter.

dan perjovschi

Yesterday while at MoMA, I was introduced to the Bucharest-based graffiti and cartoon artist, Dan Perjovschi, who created a large scale drawing installation on the wall of the second floor atrium. The title of the exhibit is "What happened to US?", US being a purposeful play on words, since the U.S. is the butt of the artist's jokes in many ways. Perjovschi's drawings are a take on the political cartoon. Inspired by current events and modern qualms, they often display a very sharp sense of humor behind the sharpie. In conjuction with the exhibit, MoMA published a small newspaper of Perjovschi's sketches that can be downloaded online, as well as an interview between the artist and the curator, Roxana Marcoci, in which the two discuss Perjovschi's work in Communist and post-Communist Romania.

I loved the exhibit--it runs through August 27th, so see it while it lasts!

the following is a short clip of dan's installation at MoMA:

Sunday, July 22, 2007

amy finley wins my heart

i have to admit, i jumped up on my couch and clapped when i found out that san diego-based mom, amy finley, will be the next food network star. i also have to say that i predicted it way back when. i wonder if her show is going to be called "the next door gourmet"? anyway, here's a little q & a i found with amy on the food network's website.

Age: 33
Hometown: San Diego, Calif.
Occupation: Mom, freelance writer, freelance caterer
Favorite restaurant: Tandor in San Diego
Food specialty: Indian
Interests: Yoga, reading, travel
Favorite Food Network chef
: Giada De Laurentis
Favorite Food Network show: Everyday Italian, Food 911
Three people, alive or dead, that you'd like to invite to a dinner party: My grandpa Harold, my husband Greg, my husband's grandmother Raymonde Suguet
Three foods you can't live without (other than bread or water)
: Cheese, chocolate, steak
Culinary inspirations
: Julia Child, French grandmothers
Culinary secret weapon
: A sharp knife
Favorite food
: Eggplant
Food you won't go near
: Veal
Weirdest thing you've ever eaten
: Goat head tacos
Favorite food destination
: Paris
Why do you think you should be The Next Food Network Star: I'm going to help people have more joie de vivre in their lives by illuminating the food culture of the ultimate romantic, glamorous, stylish, foodie city – Paris.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

is she serious

yo, listen to this as-of-yet unreleased song by regina spektor. its called baby jesus. she sings hiccups throughout and parts of it remind me of the yodeling song from the sound of music.

the mad hatter-ess

If you haven't yet read New York Magazine's article on Isabella Blow, you should do so NOW! Isabella, or Izzie Blow, who passed away this past May after downing weedkiller, was a world-famous fashion icon, known for "discovering" Alexander McQueen and for wearing outrageous hats. You may also recognize her for the itty bitty cameo she had in Wes Anderson's The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou.

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Wednesday, July 18, 2007

trout fishing in america

I was thinking about this book today, Trout Fishing in America by Richard Brautigan, whose experimental first novel I read last summer. This is a quote from the book that I found inscribed in my journal from last August:

The sun was lke a huge fifty-cent piece that someone had poured keroses on and then had lit with a match and said, 'Here, hold this while I got get a newspaper,' and put the coin in my hand, but never came back.

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now walk it out

this video doesn't get old:

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

goya's ghosts

goya's ghosts, the latest film from czech director, milos forman, is slated to open this friday. don't waste your $11 on it. i saw it while i was in prague and, unfortunately, it was a long and plotless pile of torture (literally). if you want to be amazed by creepy shots of spanish inquistion-era torture, or want to see natalie portman just looking as horrifying as possible, then go ahead, waste your time. otherwise, just watch this preview and let that be enough:

it's too bad, because i usually love milos.

pyromania and green fairies

now, i've never been the kind of woman to order cosmos and other pink drinks. i've always preferred whiskey or even vodka, which i can swig down like water. my foray into absinthe, however, was a different story because absinthe exists in a mythical world beyond gender lines. although extremely strong and possibly deadly (not a girly drink in any way), absinthe has been dubbed "the green fairy", and has a seductive quality attached to it that only a woman can have.

so, while in prague, i became a big absinthe drinker. it actually started en route to prague, now that i think about it, since my boyfriend and i stopped in london for a brief jaunt about the town. there we came upon this decadent wine tasting attraction called vinopolis in this foodie part of town and out of the three offered tours, we decided to embark on the "discovery tour". there, after a few wine tastings from the three worlds, we proceeded to get completely smashed as we also enjoyed a bombay sapphire gin cocktail, 2 beer tastings, 2 whiskey tastings, and finally, 2 absinthe tastings. absinthe was second to last, i believe, and we were pretty gone by the time we got there. maybe that's why when we were introduced to the spearminty, wintergreen taste, we felt absolutely no burn and fell in love with it. we tasted two kinds of la fee, the french kind and the bohemian kind (from the czech lands). i preferred the french kind, which i thought tasted less like mouthwash. it was also exciting watching the server perform this ancient ritual of carmelizing the sugar in a spoon and drizzling water through it into the absinthe. we left that place in the most lovely, drunken stupor i can possibly remember. we could barely walk, so we settled down immediately next door at the famed british noodle joint, wagamama, and now that i look back on it, that stupor is probably why i have been forever so attached to this noodle chain.

anyway, so come a week or two later, we are in prague. like all the other 5,000 college students there, we're drinking out $1 dollar beers all over the place, getting used to inhaling massive amounts of smoke in every single pub, and basically having a great old drinking time. finally, we go to this one crazy bar called cross club, which is more like an underground network of people with dreadlocks and industrial music. if you can imagine this, the place looks like a mix between terry gilliam's brazil and spike jonze's being john malkovich. anyway, since we were now in the bohemian lands, we decided to dive into a big absinthe tasting session with our new friends and we ordered a round of eight absinthes. our drinks came within seconds, which was curious since in london it took a few minutes for our server to properly distill our drinks. looking at the eight mini mouthwash-looking shots, we slowly came to realize that they were not distilled. well, we already ordered them, right? we all swigged down our absinthe--it was so strong, i couldn't take it down all at once. i did my shot in two parts. for the first 45 seconds, it leaves you frozen and burning, its unbelievably painful like your insides are melting from the heat of the liquor. for the last 15 seconds of the minute, you're in the weird, silent place where you have to decide whether or not you're going to throw up. but, then it all passes and you feel euphoric, seriously. not "wasted", or high, just laid back and euphoric...letting all that wormwood seep into your bloodstream.

so, i drank a lot of absinthe while in prague and it was never distilled. the czechs don't even know that it's supposed to be distilled. i've also had really bad absinthe at small shady bars where i'm pretty sure i was just drinking mouthwash. no matter what, its a good time, but a very strong drink, so you have to be ready for it. i'm pretty fond of la fee as i said, but my roommate managed to smuggle us a higher class bottle of french absinthe from berlin. apparently, it goes for $200 on the american black market.

last night, we finally decided to do a little tasting session of our absinthe, and we decided to do it the right way. so, we poured a bit of absinthe into a glass, took a spoon full of sugar and dipped it into the absinthe, so that the sugar absorbed that alcohol, then we lit the sugar on fire and waited for it to carmelize. this wasn't so easy since we were using brown sugar, which refused to liquify, and because we soaked the sugar in too much absinthe, meaning small drops of flaming alcohol kept dropping into the cup, setting the cup on fire, or dropping onto our kitchen countertop. after our first exercise in pyromania, where we had to put down the spoon and smother the flames, we finally succeeded in half-carmelizing some sugar to add to our absinthes and then added some water. our drinks were warm and cloudy, sweet and still incredibly strong. it wasn't like bohemian absinthe, which is just straight to the point and deadly, but it was a nice, cloudy american version.

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czech painter Viktor Oliva's most famous painting, "absinthe drinker", hangs on the walls of the famous "cafe slavia" on narodni trida in prague.

for those of you who don't know much about the history of absinthe, its ills and controversies, its wormood and the reason for its ban, then hurry up and educate yourselves here.

Monday, July 16, 2007

i love craftbar

Today was the first day of Restaurant Week. As we sat down at Tom Colicchio's craftbar, I have to admit, I was basically shaking with excitement. Overall, it was an amazing and filling experience. We waited for less that 5 minutes to get our table, the bartender was a bitch, but that's ok because we ended up being rushed to our table and not having to deal with her. For $24.07, I was scared that the menu would be measly, with no more than 3 or 4 dishes offered in every category. Luckily, that was not the case. We had plenty of options and had a hard time deciding. Between the four of us, our table ended up being served the following. Even though I tried to get us all to order different dishes, it didn't exactly work out and we ended up doubling up several times.


Salt-Cod Croquettes with Romesco Aioli
Pecorino-Stuffed Risotto Balls (x2)
Warm Pecorino Fondue with Acacia Honey, Hazelnuts, and Pepperoncini

Main Courses:

Scottish Salmon with Shitake Mushrooms a la Greque (x2)
Hanger Steak served on a Bread Salad
Spaghettini with Asparagus, Snap Peas, and Spring Onions


Brown Sugar Cake with Lavender Ice Cream and Blueberry Compote (x2)
Buttermilk Panna Cotta with Apricots and Pistachios
Crispy Chocolate Cake with Lavender Ice Cream

So, what I thought: the appetizers were all good, but the pecorino fondue, which was served with two pieces of buttered, crispy toast, was by far the best. Unfortunately, I didn't order it and had to keep snagging bites from my roommate. The main courses were all great, as well. I was a little iffy about the bread salad served with the hanger steak, but the bread was a little crusty and dipped in delicious olive oil, so it turned out really with the steak. Plus, my spaghettini had this amazing, stringy cheese cooked into the dish (I think it was Pecorino, again), and it was lovely. Lastly, the desserts. I'm somewhere in between the Panna Cotta and teh Brown Sugar Cake. I love Panna Cotta (Supper in the East Village has the best!), but the Lavender Ice Cream that came with the Brown Sugar Cake was my favorite. I wish I could find it somewhere. Anyone know where? The closest thing I've had to it is Bergamont Cupcakes with Lavender Icing at Sympathy for the Kettle on St. Mark's.

Other than the food, we all had great wine that unfortunately ran up the tab, but we didn't mind since we were so satiated. At the end of the meal, the lovely manager came by, thanked us for visiting, and gave us each a gift certificate we could redeem once Restaurant Week was over.

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Tom Colicchio, I love you.

on great performers

I found this quote in Jesse Green's article in yesterday's Times called "Seeking His Inner Her, Size XXXL" about John Travolta and his role as Edna, in the upcoming musical, Hairspray.

Great performers are so watchable, but also so alarming, because they won't be pinned down. Wherever there's x they mix it with y, and vice versa. Vile characters like Vincent Vega are leavened with pathos or humor; lightweights like Edna are deepened with sex and sadness.

I thought it was a nice bit of acting inspiration for the day. It did, however, leave me with this frightening dream last night where I couldn't remember the lines from my Dionyza monologue (from Shakespeare's Pericles) for the life of me.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

a depressing poem, but it's good

Here is a beautiful poem by Paul Celan. As soon as I decided to post it, I realized that this was going to be quite the debbie downer. But whatever.


Black milk of daybreak we drink it at nightfall
we drink it at noon in the morning we drink it at night
drink it and drink it
we are digging a grave in the sky it is ample to lie there
A man in the house he plays with the serpents he writes
he writes when the night falls to Germany your golden hair Margarete
he writes it and walks from the house the stars glitter he whistles his dogs up
he whistles his Jews out and orders a grave to be dug in the earth
he commands us strike up for the dance

Black milk of daybreak we drink you at night
we drink in the mornings at noon we drink you at nightfall
drink you and drink you
A man in the house he plays with the serpents he writes
he writes when the night falls to Germany your golden hair Margarete
Your ashen hair Shulamith we are digging a grave in the sky it is ample to lie there

He shouts stab deeper in earth you there and you others you sing and you play
he grabs at the iron in his belt and swings it and blue are his eyes
stab deeper your spades you there and you others play on for the dancing
Black milk of daybreak we drink you at nightfall
we drink you at noon in the mornings we drink you at nightfall
drink you and drink you
a man in the house your golden hair Margarete
your ashen hair Shulamith he plays with the serpents

He shouts play sweeter death's music death comes as a master from Germany
he shouts stroke darker the strings and as smoke you shall climb to the sky
then you'll have a grave in the clouds it is ample to lie there

Black milk of daybreak we drink you at night
we drink you at noon death comes as a master from Germany
we drink you at nightfall and morning we drink you and drink you
a master from Germany death comes with eyes that are blue
with a bullet of lead he will hit in the mark he will hit you
a man in the house your golden hair Margarete
he hunts us down with his dogs in the sky he gives us a grave
he plays with the serpents and dreams death comes as a master from Germany

your golden hair Margarete
your ashen hair Shulamith.

top chef update

so, my favorite top chef contender is howie. i'm not sure why--he's sweaty, doesn't smile a lot, and doesn't seem to be the most likeable or sociable chef on the show. yet, i can't help but root for him. he's kind of a teddy bear who seems like he has the most heart invested in his dishes. he kind of reminds me of a bulldog, whose droopy faces i find irresistable, so maybe that's my subconcious reason for rooting for him. also, he totally quoted my obsession, anthony bourdain to his face during the final review in one of the earlier episodes. i'd like to see him win, however the writers at grub street are bumming me out about his chances. anyway, i was playing around on bravotv's top chef site and i found this little q&a with howie. reading it made me love him even more, since he sites chef thomas keller (whose napa valley restaurant was written about by bourdain in "a cook's tour") as one of his main influences.

Date of birth: July 31, 1975
Astrological sign: Leo.
Current job: Executive Chef at The Food Gong, LLC.
Cooking experience: Eleven years at restaurants and hotels.
Restaurants you have worked at: Intercontinental, Miami; Petrossian, Miami; Mark's, Miami; The Ritz-Carlton, Key Biscayne.
Restaurants you would like to work at: The French Laundry in Napa Valley; Restaurant Daniel in New York City; Le Bernardin in New York City.
Chef(s) you admire: Thomas Keller, Gray Kunz, and Eric Ripert.
What cooking shows do you watch? "Top Chef" and "Iron Chef."
Your top three favorite cookbooks are: "The French Laundry Cookbook," "El Bulli," and "The Elements of Taste."
Your must-have kitchen accessory is: Sharp knives
What are your go-to ingredients? Butter.
How many courses should a meal have? 5-6.
What's your favorite course? Appetizer.
What famous person, living or dead, would you like to make a meal for? Alain Ducasse.
And, what would you serve them? The best products available.
What's your favorite style of cooking? Mediterranean/Asian.
What nationality of food do you like the best? Thai.
What's your favorite meal of the day to prepare? Dinner.
Where do you find inspiration when creating a new dish? Cookbooks and markets.
Who has been your greatest inspiration in the kitchen? Tim Andriola.
What is your favorite comfort food? Macaroni and cheese.
Do you ever eat fast food? If so, what? Yes, Taco Bell.
What restaurant do you want to eat at that you haven't eaten at yet? El Bulli.
Do you have a favorite partner that you cook with? My sous-chef.
What do you serve at Thanksgiving dinner? Everything traditional.
What's your favorite dessert? Molten chocolate cake.
Are there wines or liquors that you cook with? Vermouth, cognac, white and red wines, brandy.
How much time do you spend cooking a meal just for yourself? No more than 30 minutes.
What would be your dream job as a chef? Consulting restaurant openings.
How do you react when a customer sends something back to the kitchen? I investigate and rectify ASAP.
Do you have a lucky charm of any kind during the competition? No.
How do you handle the pressure of competition? Positive thinking.
Who was your favorite chef from Season 1 of "Top Chef," and why? Lee Anne Wong.
What scent in the kitchen do you love – what ingredient smells the best? Vanilla.
What ingredient(s) do you avoid/dislike? Liver.
What's your secret splurge at the grocery store? Frozen White Castle sliders.
What's your favorite midnight snack? Ditto.

you can also read the interview online on bravotv.com.

Friday, July 13, 2007

hey, hot shot!

for those of you who don't know, i am now writing daily entries for the hey, hot shot! blog, so you should check it out.

hey, hot shot! is the highest-regarded photo competition for emerging photographers run by my boss, gallerist jen bekman. the competition occurs four times a year, ends with an awesome gallery showcase for the season's 10 winners, and culminates with a big bang annual exhibit in January featuring the work of four new hot shots. the competition is judged by an excellent panel that includes joerg colberg, blurb founder eileen gittins, and a bunch of other important photography people who you could read more about here. a bunch of up and coming photographers are former Hey, Hot Shot! winners, including some people i've mentioned here before like ian baguskas and nina berman.

it's a pretty big deal, so if you think you're a hot shot, you should enter now! and if you do, i'll see you over at the hey, hot shot! blog.

la isla bonita

This is a video of a Madonna/Gogol Bordello collaboration on "La Isla Bonita" at last Saturday's LiveEarth. My favorite part of this video? When she introduced Ukrainian musician Eugene Hutz as her Romany Gypsy friend...


So, I saw Michael Moore's latest film Sicko the other night, and all in all, it was a typical Michael Moore film, meaning it was maudlin, sentimental, manipulative, hilarious, and...undeniably right. The thing with Michael Moore is that everyone loves to hate him and his movies aren't perfect--he does what he needs to do to make his point, but as David Edelstein says in his New York Magazine review, "his methods are suspect, yet his work is indispensable."

It's hard not to like Sicko--it's a working-class movie that affects both sides of the party line. It's hard not to be astounded at the poignant stories of a wife who lost her husband because he was refused a bone marrow transplant, or a mother who lost her daughter because Kaiser Permanente refused to treat her at her nearest non-Kaiser hospital. And there's the story of a 9/11 rescue worker who finds that her same exact medication (a type of inhaler) costs about 5 cents in Cuba, while back home she pays $120 a bottle. It's also hard not to question why all the other countries Moore visits in the film (England, France, Canada, and even Cuba) have it better than we do in the U.S. Of course, Moore took it too far, exaggerating interest in the government-supplied nannies who even do your laundry for you in France, or the amount of money made by an average, state-paid general practitioner in London who drives an Audi and has a new flat-screen TV. But, the question remains the same--why in those countries can you get a free house call from a doctor in the middle of the night? Why can you get in an ambulance during an emergency without having to think of the $1,000-2,000 it's going to cost you?

And I know Moore didn't show everything from the other side of "socialized" health care--I have been in a dingy, cold, and unorganized hospital in Prague where I watched my boyfriend suck down what we dubbed "cardboard soup" after a bad night of food poisoning (his night's stay amounted to no more than $300.) I also watched my grandmother die in a state-run hospital in Israel, where she was crammed in a room and getting occasional glances, not check-ups, from the nurses. It's not all good on the other side either.

In the end of the day, my biggest complaint was that the film didn't offer any solutions. I left really bummed out, concerned about my own health care plan (and even my future children's health care), but I had no idea what to do about it except complain. So, I still want to know, what do we do from here? Michael Moore showed us that we have this huge problem of health care in the U.S., and I agree with him, but the film left me complaining instead of hopefully vying for change.

Mission of the Streets

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I just read about this sidewalk art/game that has been popping up in the Mission District of San Francisco via Vulture. It's called "She Loves the Moon" and it's a choose-your-own-path interactive love story told via sidewalk spray-painted stencils.

It's an awesome reinvention of storytelling and common street art. It's just that cool--it's probably going to show up in the streets of Brooklyn in less than a week.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

a taste that's out of this world

check out the latest heinz commercial directed by mr. andrew simkiss, starring david morris and seth brau. this one is out of this world!

if you love it (and i know you will), click here and rate it, vote for it, comment on it...you know the drill, just make it win.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

rolling thunder logbook

I found this short piece of writing by Sam Shepard while flipping through the The Outlaw Bible of American Literature. It's a thick collection of prose that features a wide range of edgy, beatnik, on-the-outskirts-of-society American writers, like Kerouac and Hunter S. Thompson. Even people like John Waters, Patti Smith, and Dylan have pieces in it.

"Rolling Thunder Logbook" by Sam Shepard


Allen quotes from Kerouac's favorite Shakespeare: "How like a winter hath my absence been...What freezings have I felt, what dark days seen!/What old December's bareness everywhere!" It's right close to the time of year he died in. Trees sticking up naked, blankets of blowing leaves. Dylan and Ginsberg perched close to the ground, cross-legged, facing this tiny marble plaque, half buried in the grass: " 'TI-JEAN' [little Jack], JOHN L. KEROUAC, Mar. 12, 1922-Oct. 21, 1969--HE HONORED LIFE--STELLA HIS WIFE, Nov. 11, 1918--." Dylan's tuning up his Martin while Ginsberg causes his little shoe-box harmonium to breathe out notes across the lawn. Soon a slow blues takes shape with each of them exchanging verses, then Allen moving into an improvised poem to the ground, to the sky, to the day, to Jack, to life, to music, to the worms, to bones, to travel, to the States. I try to look at both of them head-on, with no special ideas of who or what they are but just to try to see them there in front of me. Tthey emerge as simple men with a secret aim in mind. Each of them opposite but still in harmony. Alive and singing to the dead and living. Sitting flat on the earth, above bones, beneath trees and hearing what they hear.

Also, check out the The Outlaw Bible of American Poetry, which I think is actually better than the literature collection.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

food stuffs

While I was in Israel, I finished another of Anthony Bourdain's books, which I devoured with roaring speed. This one was called 'The Nasty Bits'. It's a collection of useable scraps of writing about food, cooking, and celebrity chefdom. I've been a self-anointed foodie for quite some time now, but my ongoing relationship with Bourdain seems to perpetuate my obsession with cooking and good food. Although I subconciously think a lot about food, I rarely take the initiative to write about it. All that is about to change. Here are some recent goings-on in my life in the sphere of food:

1. NYC Restaurant Week is fast approaching. Go here to find out more about the participation restaurants. The way it works is these top restaurants offer prix-fix lunch and/or dinner menus for an extremly affordable price ($24.07 or $35, respectively.) So far, I have reservations at craftbar, Gordon Ramsey's Maze, and Nobu (to satisfy my boyfriend's sushi fix). I'm hungry already just thinking about it. My biggest regret is that we couldn't get reservations to Danny Meyer's Gramercy Tavern. However, I did recently stumble upon this craigslist ad saying that they're looking for servers, so maybe that's my in. At least they offer a 401K as opposed to my current "under the table" work.

2. I just discovered a new restaurant in my area and was shocked that I hadn't seen it earlier. Located on 11th St. and Ave. A, Westville East is a refreshing addition to a neighborhood crowded with popular, but mediocre restaurants. They offer a menu of traditional American comfort food with a savvy twist, plus a good-looking market menu of fresh veggie side dishes. The restaurant is also very white and bright--it almost has this nice, pastoral feel to it. When I went for brunch the other day, I had a blended mint lemonade which was like an awesomely green and refreshing smoothie, and sunny-side eggs with asparagus and parmigiano (with a little potato mash and french baguette on the side!) OK--this is getting ridiculous, but seriously go there. It's presence is now making me reconsider my upcoming move off of Avenue A.

3. In the last issue of Monocle, I found an amazing recipe from a middle-class Italian restaurant in Brazil, called Cantina Jacobina. The recipe is for gnocchi all'amatriciana. I learned to make amatriciana sauce a few years ago--its basically a tomato-based sauce with bacon or pancetta, onions, and pepperoncino, or red pepper flakes. So, here is the recipe I found in Monocle...maybe soon I'll post my own recipe for my own similar dish.

3 tbs olive oil
100 g pancetta, diced
1 garlic clove, peeled
1/4 tsp dried crushed pepperoncino
1 finely chopped onion
2 tbs balsamic vinegar
450 g cherry tomatos, chopped
350 g fresh gnocchi
3/4 cup fresh pecorino romano

Fry the pancetta until crisp, then set adise. Add oil, garlic, and pepperoncino to the pan, fry until it darkens. Then add onions, fry until they are transcluscent. Add pancetta and fry until the fat drains. Stir in vinegar and add tomatoes, then simmer for 5 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. Meanwhile, cook gnocchi in separate pot with a pinch of salt for flavor. Reserve 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid. When gnocchi are ready, toss with sauce and cheese. Add a little cooking liquid if it is dry. Transfer to a bowl and serve with some pancetta sprinkled on top.

This is the photo from Monocle that ran with the recipe:
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Now I'm going to go eat some of my new Trader Joe's groceries!

Sunday, July 8, 2007

elephant gun

Just stumbled upon Beirut's most recent video for their song "Elephant Gun". The video is set in a confetti-filled art party and features stoned hipsters dancing elatedly to Twyla Tharp-style choreography circa 1979's 'Hair'. They parade around the room drunkenly and break out into beautiful collective dance, which seems to go along quite well with the song's lyric: "As did I, we drink to die, we drink tonight".

i love it.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

do you have what it takes to be a top chef?

Just found out that Bravo is holding open call auditions for the next season of Top Chef in New York on July 22nd! At craftsteak from 9am-2pm. I just reviewed the application process and apparently you don't need years of experience to apply! You just need to be creative, highly skilled, and ready to complete. I wonder what the open call is like? Do you have to perform quick-fire challenges in Tom Collichio's kitchen amidst a sea of competition?

It's really silly how into this show I am these days. Ever since Mr. Bourdain appeared as a guest star... Anyways, find out more about casting for Bravo TV shows.

On another silly foodie note, I'm going to see "Ratatouille" tonight. At least I better be.

star-cross'd lovers

i have been meaning to see the latest shakespeare in the park for so long and i just found out that its closing this coming sunday! "romeo and juliet", starring lauren ambrose (of "six feet under") and some dude named oscar isaac, is playing in central park's delacorte theater for free as part of the public theater's annual summer shakespeare series. tickets can be retrieved after waiting in line from 1pm-3pm at the public on lafayette or starting at 1pm at the delacorte.

i saw ambrose last year in "awake and sing!", and she was nothing special, however reviews say that this performance is more promising. plus there's supposed to be 70-foot-wide pool dominating the stage, so i'm wondering what that looks like. and, what better way is there to see a tale of star-cross'd lovers than under the stars in central park. i saw "macbeth" there last summer and it is an amazing experience watching theater amidst towering trees and the night sky.

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get in line now so you can see it before it closes on sunday.

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

my favorites from the wedding

here are a few photos from my cousins wedding, which was on a kibbutz in the middle of the desert.

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the setting

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max and anton

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my grandpas

view from the hotel

here are some pictures i took of the beach in tel aviv.

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Monday, July 2, 2007

glass house gallery

i first heard about the glass house gallery as a freshman--there was a small expose on it in the washington square news, if you can believe it. anyway, it was a constantly evolving art-space, open for cheap rentals for as a rehearsal space or even a performance space in the evenings. they threw free weekly community dinners, showcased a ton of musicians, like kimya dawson, grizzly bear, and the akron family, and they threw this night called Experimental Art Night, which was this open painting, playing, dancing, collaborative art session.

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i just went on their website, excited about throwing a party there, only to find out it closed last year. i'm bummed. it was a great idea. if anyone knows of any other community art spaces that are open-minded and available, let me know.

monocle zooms in on cities

on the plane ride back from israel, i managed to get through an entire issue of the london-based magazine, monocle. all in all, i like the magazine--its generally more sophisticated than american magazines and is absolutely free of any starstruck qualities that tend to invade even the best of arts/culture print journalism. however, my main criticism of monocle is that it is too eurocentric (and japan-obsessed). besides for only featuring fewer than 3 mentions of the americas, as they call it, in a survey of the world's top 20 cities, new york didn't make the cut. this makes no sense to me. i understand that not everyone can make it in new york and there actually is a contigent of people who are not as obsessed with the city as new yorkers are, but come on. it should have at least made the top 3.

anyway, here is monocle's list of the world's top 20 most liveable cities (the first ten got major 1-2 page spreads on them; the second half of the list took up only 1/3 of a page in barely significant columns):
1. munich
2. copenhagen
3. zurich
4. tokyo
5. vienna
6. helsinki
7. sydney
8. stockholm
9. honolulu
10. madrid
11. melbourne
12. montreal
13. barcelona
14. kyoto
15. vancouver
16. auckland
17. singapore
18. hamburg
19. paris
20. geneva

in my opinion, this list is wack. how did paris barely make the cut at number 19?

while browsing the monocle website, trying to find an answer to my qualms with this list, i came upon monocle's miniscule guide to new york. at least they like american hamburgers.