Category Archives: watchables

how our brains are fine-tuned to trick us (for our own good?)

happy 2011!

this is worth 20 minutes of your time: a very interesting talk from the TED series about reality, happiness, choices, options, self-delusion and other such interesting things. I’m not sure quite yet what I’m taking away from this talk but I am very interested and it’s gotten me thinking.

 

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two trips to lincoln center

over the past two weekends, I have taken two trips to lincoln center, all by myself, and happily so.

the front of the met opera

last weekend I hit the met opera for a performance of “la bohème.” it was, of course, completely fantastic. I hadn’t seen it since middle school! the costumes were gorgeous and the sets were amazing. there was even a live donkey and a live horse! during the cafe scene there most have been at least 150 people on stage. it was epic. I scored my ticket for $10 through pratt (“a $50 value!” as they say in infomercials). seat wasn’t too bad either. woot!

the stage at the met

last night I took myself on another little fancy solo date and caught the NYCB’s “the nutcracker.” who doesn’t love a good “nutcracker”? it was charming and whimsical as always. particular highlights for me always include the waltz of the snowflakes, the dance of arabian coffee, the tutus on the marizipan shepherdesses, dewdrop, and of course the final pas de deux. magic and candy coated fun.
the only bummers were that my seat wasn’t the best, and the people next to me were extremely annoying (arriving 20 minutes late, whispering the whole first act and texting duirng the second, making a ruckus leaving 20 minutes early! harumph! a little decorum and decency, please! it’s the freakin’ nutcracker at lincoln freakin’ center a week before christmas!) I wish more people would stick to my personal how-people-should-behave-whilst-in-public credo: “just try not to bother anyone!”

good times.

signs you are getting old

I am a bit of an old lady at heart, it’s true.

I present as evidence:

1. I make candy at home
2. I knit and embroider
3. I like to stay home
4. I think “The Golden Girls” is quality television, own a few seasons all seven seasons on DVD, quote it fluently, laugh out loud at it, and watch said DVDs at least one a week
5. I am currently waiting patiently for my homemade vanilla extract to be ready (december 17th!)
6. I own a one-piece bathing suit
7. the following items can usually be found in my handbag: cough drops, a handkerchief, tums, tea bags
8. I have been known to slip an ice cube or two into a glass of white wine or rosé
9. I enjoy going to the opera
10. I generally prefer knee-length or longer skirts

there you have it. scary, huh?

films, part one

part one of a roundup of my favorite films, in no particular order.

Some Like it Hot
(1959)

Hands-down, one of THE funniest movies of all time. In fact, every time I watch it, I am surprised yet again at just how hilarious it is. Gangsters! Millionaires! Jack Lemmon and Tony Curtis in drag! Marilyn Monroe’s breasts on all-too-prominent display! She actually gives, in my opinion, a pretty stellar performance, but apparently she was a nightmare to work with as she was a little, shall we say, zonked out of it and unable to remember her lines. I also read that she was actually pregnant at the time of filming (which the costumers tried to hide) and later miscarried. Poor Marilyn. But this film is one of her best, and Lemmon and Curtis couldn’t be funnier. The scene of the party in the train car is my favorite, and in close second the tango scene. Oh, and the last line! What a hum-dinger! They just don’t make ’em like this anymore.

Annie Hall
(1977)

My all-time favorite. Pitch-perfect. Woody Allen at his best: this film is funny, charming, heart-breaking, sweet, nervous, and delightful. Diane Keaton positively COULD NOT be any cuter. The ultimate relationship story (my favorite topic) that examines the ups, downs, and ultimate demise of Annie and Alvy. Alvy’s ending voice-over monologue about how he feels about Annie (“… how fun it was just knowing her…”) is the most we can all hope for in terms of how we feel about former lovers, and it’s a beautiful thing. One of my favorite parts is the “spider in the bathtub” scene–it’s such a moment of emotional truth, and most of us have been there. The film is also chock-full of funny Woody Allen one-liner exchanges:
Annie – “Do you want some chocolate milk? I’ve got the good chocolate…”
Alvy- “What am I? Your son?”
HA! Gets me every time. It’s also full of great little celebrity cameos (some non-speaking): Paul Simon, Jeff Goldblum, Sigourney Weaver, Shelley Duvall,  Truman Capote…

Sunset Boulevard
(1950)

Absolutely classic film noir. The sets and cinematography are absolutely wonderful in this creepy and gripping film. Bill Holden plays the archetypal struggling young Hollywood writer who ends up a kept man by Gloria Swanson’s reclusive,  jealous, needy silent film star of a bygone era—very Ms. Havesham-esque.

Joe- “You’re Norma Desmond… you used to be in silent pictures. You used to be big.”
Norma- “I AM big. It’s the PICTURES that got SMALL!”

The murder-mystery in reverse set-up allows the plot to unravel in such a structured, 1940s way, as it winds through issues of possession, delusion, insanity and need. The whole thing is totally spooky eye-candy that is just brilliant. The monkey funeral? The rotting old mansion? The closing scene? Creepy perfection.